Sunday Morning Sermon Notes

“The Great Compromise And The Falling Away” - “These Times They Are A-Changing!”

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09-01-2019 Part 1

Read St. John 8:                                                                                                               Vs. 31.  Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him, if, you abide in My Word you are My disciples indeed.                                                                                                  Vs. 32.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

This afternoon, lets come back to our ongoing series that we have called, “You Shall Know The Truth, And The Truth Shall Make You Free!”

Now remember, one of the objectives of this series is to help restore or develop our confidence, or dependency, and our trust and belief that the scriptures, the Bible is the final revelation of God which contains,

*Absolute truth.     *Moral and ethical guidelines for life.       *Practical wisdom.       *Helpful insight and understandings about being with God’s help an overcomer.        *And most of all, having an eternal perspective in everything that we say or do!         

Listen, the Bible, the Scriptures, must have the final say in our lives.

And not our family of origin.  Not our ethnicity.   Not our flesh.   Not our intellect.   Not our education.   Not our culture.   Not our society.   Not our politics.   Only the scriptures, the Bible should have the final authority in our lives when it comes to the essential issues of life that you and I may struggle with from time to time.      Or, those issues that we really are not sure about!                                                        Or, those issues that we really could use some help with in our lives right now.

So, today we want to begin our New Subject Within This Series.

And with God’s help we need to address an important issue that all of us as God’s people are facing at this time, and that is The Great Compromise, And The Falling Away, i.e. the rejecting of the faith.  But also, that would include one’s attendance, participation, involvement, and financial support, the falling away!

Quote I Timothy 4: 1.  Now the Spirit expressly says, that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.

First, this is what I mean by the “Great Compromise!”

If you think about it, in just a short period of time, and within our lifetime, in the body of Christ, and especially within local church ministry. There has been a paradigm shift from a corporate accountability and responsibility that we are to have for one another when it comes to personal holiness, Godliness, purity, integrity, and practical sanctification.

But now, if you have noticed everything has changed.                                                         It is all about self!  My needs, my rights, and my freedoms.

In fact, the prevailing attitude in most churches today among those who attend is, “ain’t nobody’s business if I do, or what I do!”

NOTE: This was a popular title song from the early 1920s.  In fact, this song was also performed by the late Billie Holiday, in the late 1940s.

So, in recent times, many churches, ministries, Christian schools and universities have decided that they have to compromise, in order to be relevant.

They must water down, dilute the truth, so it does not offend, and then people will attend and support that ministry.

They must not teach and explain the Bible, the scriptures, as being the final authority in a person’s life in which they are to submit too, and obey.

And next, this is what I mean by the “Falling Away”.

It is not only the rejecting of the faith, i.e. no longer accepting or believing that the Bible and Jesus Christ is the only way!

But it would also include someone who is disgruntled, or disappointed, or distracted, or deceived by the enemy Satan, to no longer want to attend, participate, to be involved, or to support prayerfully and financially like they once had!

NOTE:  Please know we must pray and reach out to individuals who are struggling about such things that were just mention.

Please know that this does not include individuals who are themselves shut in, or are rehabilitating, or recovering from surgery, or a sickness, or an illness.

Please know that this does not include individuals who are caregivers to a family member or friend.

Please know that this does not include individuals who work or go to school especially on the weekends.

Please know that this does not include individuals who have legitimate situations or circumstances, that for now, hinders or prevents them in certain ways.

So once again, the “Falling Away”” is referring to, the rejecting of the faith, i.e. no longer accepting or believing that the Bible and Jesus Christ is the only way!

The “Falling Away” can also refer to, individuals who are disgruntled, or disappointed, or distracted, or deceived by the enemy Satan, to no longer want to attend, participate, to be involved, or to support prayerfully and financially like they once had!

Now turn to Genesis 4.

Therefore, I would like to propose a challenging question for all us as committed followers of Jesus Christ in these last days.

Also, I would like to admonish our church family today on this our 31st anniversary, as a local church ministry!

Listen, am I, are you, are we, our brother’s keeper? 

Now, see Genesis 4:                                                                                                         Vs. 8.  Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and killed Abel.                            Vs. 9.  Then the Lord said to Cain, Where, is Abel your brother?  Cain said to the Lord, I do not know, (a lie).  But then, Cain said, Am I my brother's keeper, or protector, or Guardian - one who Is responsible for another?

Question, Am I, are you, are we, our brother’s keeper?                                                   But what do I mean by this?

Well, in other words, are you responsible to a certain extent for me, and am I responsible to a certain extent for you?

Think about it, are we not spiritually speaking, a part of the same spiritual family, the family of God, our Father in Heaven?

Listen, spiritually speaking, are we not brothers and sisters in Christ?                          And, as a local church community, are we not to look out for one another if one stray from the faith?

Or, if one is sinning and there is no Biblical repentance that is a change in their behavior?

Listen, does another fellow believer in my life, for example a spouse, a parent, a child, a sibling, a relative, a church member or a church leader where I attend.                     Question, does another fellow believer in my life, in certain situations have the responsibility to lovingly confront us when we have sinned.  Or, we are living in non-repented sin or, when we are affecting others by our sin or sinfulness?

Question, does another fellow believer in my life, in certain situations have the right to Biblically warn, or to question our decisions and choices.  Our beliefs and practices when they are contrary to the word of God?

Am I, are you, are we, our brother’s keeper?

But, on the other hand, as I had said before. Things have really changed within the church, and outside the church as well.

For many would say when it comes to my personal behavior, my conduct around others, or my lifestyle choices whether they are conservative, or liberal, or risqué, (having no boundaries).

Many would say, aren’t we free in Christ as God’s people, as individual believers to do, or to say whatever we want as long as we’re not hurting anyone else?

Is there really a need that you and I should be accountable to each other as long as we are not hurting anyone else?

And what about my liberties in Christ to do as I please or see fit?

Are we not free in Christ, free in the Spirit from rules, traditions, and moral boundaries?

Are we not spiritual libertarians?  Those who are all about personal freedom or liberty so that every man does what is right in his own eyes!

Quote Judges 17: 6.  In those days, there was no King in Israel; And everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

September 8, 2019   Part 2    

This afternoon we want to come back to a new subject that we are entitling, These Times They Are A-Changing!”

A similar title from a very popular song, by the singer & songwriter Bob Dylan from 1965, that he entitled, “The Times They Are A-Changing!”

Listen, these times, our times they are a-changing, especially within the body of Christ?  And outside the body of Christ.

Let me explain what I mean!

Many Christians would say when it comes to their personal behavior, their conduct around others. Or, their lifestyle choices whether they are conservative, or liberal, or risqué, having no boundaries.  Many would say, aren’t we free in Christ as God’s people, as individual Believers to do, or to say whatever we want as long as we’re not hurting anyone else?

Is there really a need that you and I should have to be accountable to each other, as long as we are not hurting anyone else?

Because what about my liberties in Christ to do as I please or see fit?

Are we not free in Christ?  And free in the Spirit from rules, traditions, and moral boundaries?

Are we not spiritual Libertarians?

Who are all about personal freedom or liberty, so that every man does what is right in his own eyes?

But are these views Biblical or scriptural?

Are these assumptions that we just mention, especially about our freedoms.  Are they theological, or are they worldly and from the evil one?

So then, Biblically, let’s challenge three common assumptions that we may have, or that we have been taught when it comes to some peoples’ views about Christian liberty or being free!

So then, the first common assumption that we may have, or that we have been taught, would be this term we called, “Christian Liberty!”

But what does it actually mean, Christian liberty?

See II Corinthians 3:                                                                                                        Vs. 15.  But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their hearts the descendants of Abraham Vs. 16.  Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.                   Vs. 17.  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Actually, true Christian liberty is a dominant theme throughout the New Testament.

But beware, there Is a false view in our times that is popular.  And I will speak about that in just a moment.

But, true Christian liberty states this, that you or I are not required to become Jews or Jewish. That is, keepers of the law and commandments in order to be saved, forgiven, and accepted by God.

But instead, being in Christ, or a Christian, a committed follower of Jesus Christ Who has been born again, by faith in Him, and in what He has done.

Therefore, we are not under the Law to perform it, and to keep it in order to be saved, for we are set free in Christ, because we have believed, trusted, and received Him, and by Him only are we saved!

So then, this first common assumption that we may have, or that we were taught about Christian liberty, may be a false one!

In fact, the false kind of Christian liberty of our times, has two gross errors and practices, that We can be deceived by.

First, the false kind of Christian liberty of our times, supposes that being in Christ, we are not under the law, and therefore one’s personal freedom and liberty are more important than obedience to God, submission to God, waiting on God, and trusting in God, at least that is the way we can act sometimes when we want our way!

Now remember, the false kind of Christian liberty of our times, has two gross errors and practices, that we can be deceived by.

And the second kind of false Christian liberty of our times, assumes that in the Spirit that we are free from rules, traditions, and even moral boundaries of the Bible.  Why?

Because the Holy Spirit will automatically protect you, from sinning when faced with temptation.  And therefore, we are free in the Spirit to do whatever we want!

And then some will mention Galatians 5:16 to support this view.

See Galatians 5:                                                                                                            Vs. 16.  This I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

But Galatians 5: 16 is not talking about the Holy Spirit automatically protecting us from sinning when faced with temptation.

Actually, Galatians 5: 16 is a promise to give us hope, but a personal obligation that we must desire and commit to!

So, notice again Galatians 5:                                                                                          Vs. 16.  This I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Now turn to St. John 8.

Now, the next common assumption that we may have, or that we have been taught when it comes to freedom, or being free in Christ is that we are free to do as we please, or see fit!

But, notice carefully St. John 8: 34-36, because that can’t be right that we are free to do as me please, or see fit!  Because actually, there is a spiritual slavery that we are all subjected to since our physical birth!

Notice St. John 8:                                                                                                              Vs. 34.  Jesus answered them, most assuredly, I say to you, whoever habitually commits sin, is a slave of sin, *or they are enslaved and in bondage to sin.                             *Also enslaved and in bondage unto their own sinful nature.                                     *And also enslaved and in bondage unto their sinful culture and society where ever they may live.               Vs. 35.  Jesus Continues, and a slave does not abide in the house forever, because they are not free. But on the other hand, a son abides forever.  Why?  Because he is free!                                                 Vs. 36.  Therefore, if the Son or the Son of God, or God the Son, makes you free. You shall be free indeed, Why?

Because you have been made a son in Christ, and are no longer a slave.

Listen, through Jesus Christ we can be free from the penalty, the power, and one day from the very presence of sin.

Therefore, this common assumption that we may have, or that we have been taught when it comes to freedom, or being free In Christ, that we are just free to do as we please, or as we see fit, is totally false.  It too, is wrong.  And it is dangerous.

Now turn to Galatians 5.

And finally, another common assumption that we may have, or that we were taught is, when tempted just stand in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

But notice Galatians 5:                                                                                                           Vs. 1. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.                                                                    But what is the Holy Spirit really talking about in vs.1.  Keep reading.                                   Vs. 2.  Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.                       Vs. 3.  And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that they are a debtor or obligated to keep the whole law.

Therefore, this common assumption that we may have, or that we have been taught, when it comes to being tempted all you have to do is, stand in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage is misleading.  It too is inaccurate and it is deceptive.  Because when dealing with temptation the Bible never tells you and me to just stand in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free!

But here are some examples of what the Bible says to do when dealing with temptations.

See I Corinthians 10: 13.                                                                                                   No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; But God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

See Psalms 119:                                                                                                                Vs. 9.  How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your Word.                           Vs. 10.  With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!                Vs. 11.  Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!

See James 4: 7. Therefore, submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

And here is a perfect example for us to follow when it comes to resisting the devil.

See Luke 4:                                                                                                                             Vs. 1.  Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,                                                                                   Vs. 2.  being tempted for forty days by the devil.  And in those days, He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.                                                          Vs. 3.  And the devil said to Him, if You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.              * Vs. 4.  But Jesus answered him, saying, it is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.                                                                                                    Vs. 5.  Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.                                                                                     Vs. 6.  And the devil said to Him, All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.                                    Vs. 7.  Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours."                               * Vs. 8.  And Jesus answered and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan!  For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.                                       Vs. 9.  Then Satan brought Jesus to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, if You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.                    Vs. 10.  For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,               Vs. 11.  And in their hands, they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.         * Vs. 12.  And Jesus answered and said to him, it has been said, you shall not tempt the Lord your God.       Vs. 13.  Now, when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

And finally, here is what the Bible says when comes to dealing with temptations.

See Galatians 5:16.                                                                                                              I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

09-15-2019   Part 3   

This afternoon we want to come back to a new subject that we have entitled, “These Times They Are A-Changing!”

Truly, these times, our times are changing, especially within the body of Christ and outside the body of Christ as well.

Let me explain what it is that I am concerned about!

In the changing times many Christians believe and would say that when it comes to their personal behavior, their conduct around others.  Or, their lifestyle choices whether they are conservative, or liberal, or risqué, having no boundaries.  Many believe or, would say aren’t we free in Christ as God’s people, as individual Believers, to do or to say whatever we want, as long as we’re not hurting anyone else?

And what about my liberties in Christ to do as I please or see fit?

Again, are we not free in Christ?  And free in the Spirit from rules, and traditions, and moral boundaries or expectations?

Although these assumptions just mentioned, may be sincere when it comes to our freedoms in Christ!  But are these assumptions Biblical?  Are they theologically sound?  Or, are they worldly and from the evil one, himself?

Well, last Sunday with God’s help and the teachings of the New Testament, we challenged some if these assumptions that were mentioned.  These assumptions that we may have, or were taught when it came to Christian liberty, especially “the false kind!”

Note: Remember last Sunday, we acknowledged there is the true teaching from the New Testament concerning Christian liberty, that we are not under Law, but saved by Grace.

Because there is a false kind of Christian liberty that we had to address.               

See our Sermon Notes on our church website dated, 9-8-19.

Next, also with God’s help, we challenged another false assumption when it comes to being free in Christ, that says we can do whatever we want, because we are free in Christ, we are free in the Spirit from rules, and traditions, and moral boundaries or expectations!

And finally, last Sunday, we challenged one more false assumption when it comes to dealing with temptations in a matter that some believe and teach by misusing Galatians 5: 1. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

And because I ran out of time last Sunday, there is still one more false assumption which is on the other side of the spectrum when it comes to Christian liberty, “the false kind!” or, when it comes to being free in Christ to do whatever you want!

For this next false assumption that is on the other side of the spectrum is better known as, 'legalism’.  Or, having a ‘legalistic’ approach with God in order to gain, or to earn, or to keep His salvation that was given to me?   Or, to gain or to earn His favor and blessings?  Or, gain or to earn an affirmative answer, to all of my prayers?  Or, to gain or to earn His love and approval of me?

Question, has this become true for you and me?

Have you or I become, or are we becoming legalistic in our relationship with God in order to gain, or to earn, or to keep His salvation that was given to you and me?  Or, to gain, or to earn His favor and blessings?  Or, to gain or to earn an affirmative answer to all of my prayers?  Or, to gain or to earn His love and approval of you and me?

Now, notice Luke 18:                                                                                                                        Vs. 11.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself unto God, I thank you that I am not like other men!     Extortioners.     Unjust.     Adulterers.                                                                  Or, even as this Tax Collector, (a Traitor).  See vs. 10&13.                                                       Vs. 12.  Now, (the Pharisee continues) I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.

Now, I want to suggest that this man’s relationship with God had become legalistic in order to gain, or to earn, or to keep His salvation!  In order to gain or to earn God’s favor and blessings!  In order to gain or to earn an affirmative answer to His prayers from God! and in order to gain or to earn God’s love and approval of Him!

Now, I have been using these words legalism or legalistic.  But what do they mean?

Interestingly, the English words legalism, legalistic, or even legalist, are not found in the Bible!

But that’s ok, neither are the words, ‘Trinity’, or ‘Rapture’, or ‘Monotheism’, are not found in the Bible either!

But if you were to look up any of these words just mentioned, ‘Trinity’, or ‘Rapture’, or ‘Monotheism’, or ‘legalism’ if you were to look them up in a Bible dictionary, or in a Bible encyclopedia.  You would find a concept, or a perspective, or a general idea about the word, end how the word you are looking up, relates to something that was said in a verse that you were studying in the Bible.

For example, the word ‘Trinity’ is not used in I John 5: 7, “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are One.”

But again, if you were to look up the word ‘Trinity’ in a Bible dictionary, or in a Bible encyclopedia.  You would find a concept, or a perspective, or a general idea about the word ‘Trinity’, and how this word you have looked up, relates to something that was said in I John 5: 7, that you are studying in the Bible.

Now, back to our question.  So, what is legalism or a legalistic approach with God all about?

Legalism or a legalistic approach with God is when a person, or a group of people believe that by their faithful works, or their good deeds, or their sincere efforts especially keeping and practicing the Old Testament Laws and Commandments.  These individuals believe they can gain, or earn, or keep God’s salvation that was given to them.                                                                                                                                                   Or, they can gain or earn, God’s favor and blessings.                                                                    Or, they can gain or earn an affirmative answer to all of their prayers?                                        Or, they can gain or earn God’s love and approval of them.

May I ask you again an honest question, do you believe like this way also?

*Do you believe that you are saved, or that you are kept saved by your faithful works, your good deeds, or your sincere efforts especially when you are keeping and practicing the Old or New Testament Laws or Commandments of the Bible?

*Or, do you believe that you can gain or earn God’s favor and blessings by your faithful works, your good deeds, or your sincere efforts especially when you are keeping and practicing the Old or New Testament Laws or Commandments of the Bible?

*Or, do you believe that you deserve an affirmative answer each time you pray because of your faithful works, your good deeds, or your sincere efforts especially when you are keeping and practicing the Old or New Testament Laws or Commandments of the Bible?

*Or, do you believe that you can gain or earn God’s love and approval of you by your faithful works, your good deeds, or your sincere efforts especially when you are keeping and practicing the Old or New Testament Laws or Commandments of the Bible?

See Galatians 2:16,  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Now let me give a few areas that can be within a Congregation, a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University, or Business, where legalism or a legalistic approach to certain matters maybe imposed and is expected!

For example, the. leadership of a Congregation, or a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University, or Business, may impose their official authorize list of do’s and don’ts that must be followed and obeyed.

Next, the leadership of a Congregation, or a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University, or Business, may impose their control and approval of your outward appearance!

Some examples: Clothing items and shoes.  Facial hair & hair styles.  Make-up or hair coloring. Tattoos. Body piercing. Jewelry-wearing.

Next, the leadership of a Congregation, or a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University, or Business, may monitor, or accept an informant’s tattling about your conduct and behavior in Public.

Next, the leadership of a Congregation, or a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University, or Business, may require the restraint or the suppression of your sensual desires or practices.

Lastly, the leadership of a Congregation, or a Christian organization, or a Christian School, University or Business, may demand your participation and involvement.  For example, in fundraising, volunteering, tithing, praying, or witnessing.  Also, obligatory attendance to meetings, Bible studies, rehearsals, congregational worship, etc.

But, notice Colossians 2:                                                                                                            Vs. 16.  So, let no one judge you *in food (clean or unclean things) (Note: Leviticus 11:1-47)                                *Or, in drink, non-alcoholic beverages.  Teas, coffees, sodas, juices or, alcoholic beverages.  Wines, Beers, Liquors or Cocktails.                                                                        *Or, regarding a Festival, or the Old Testament feasts.                                                             *Or, a new moon, the beginning of a monthly cycle.                                                                *Or, Sabbaths, the beginning of a weekly cycle.                                                                        Vs. 17. Which are only a shadow of things to come, external, and temporary. But the substance, the main factor is Christ Jesus.                                                                                      Vs. 18.  So, let no one cheat you deceive you of your reward, by taking delight in false humility, and in false worship of Angels.  Intruding into those things which they have not seen, but vainly puffed up by their fleshly minds.                                                                                Vs. 20.  Therefore, if you died with Christ. Stop there.

Quote Galatians 2: 20. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Back to Colossians 2: 20                                                                                                                  Vs. 20.  Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world.   

But what would that be?

Quote I Corinthians 15: 32B. "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"

Now vs. 20 continues, therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world. *Why as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations.  That is the false kind, man-made legalistic regulations that demand such things like in vs. 21 says!                        Vs. 21.  Do not touch.     Do not taste.     Do not handle.                                                             Vs. 23.  These things indeed have *an appearance of wisdom, *a self-imposed religion or piety, *a false humility, *and a neglecting of the body, i.e. fasting, but they are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

So, the next time let's look at a few specific areas, when it comes to certain cultural and societal practices or vices, that are acceptable, and is expected.

For example:                                                                                                                              •Gambling/betting.                                                                                                                            •Gluttony, or overindulging, or the constant eating of junk food.                                     •Drinking alcoholic beverages and/or using prescription, or illegal drugs.  Whatever the street names, or the slang names for these drugs or alcoholic beverages.  Marijuana Opioids, Oxycodone Methamphetamines, Cocaine.                                                                          •Smoking, the inhaling of whatever kind of substance. Tobacco, Cannabis or Hemp-based plants. The use of certain smoking devices of all kinds.  Bongs, Electronic or, e-cigarettes, or Vaping.                                           •Hooking up, or friends with benefits.  Or, recreational sex or experimentation, pornography, prostitution, exhibitionism i.e. Strip club attendance.                                                                      •Cohabitating, living together short term or long term before marriage, or never marrying at all. •And involvement with certain types of dance!

Like on some of the music videos.  Or, like at some clubs, or events, or parties, where opposite sex partners, or same-sex partners, or multiple partners are twerking with each other.  Or, they are doing whatever the latest sexualize dance moves at the time.

Remember, many Christians believe and would say that when it comes to their personal behavior, their conduct around others.  Or, their lifestyle choices whether they are conservative, or liberal, or risqué, having no boundaries.  Many believe or would say aren’t we free in Christ as God’s people, as individual Believers, to do or to say whatever we want, as long as we’re not hurting anyone else?  And what about my liberties in Christ to do as I please or see fit, are we not free in Christ? And free in the Spirit from rules, and traditions, and moral boundaries or expectations?

Or, are we responsible and accountable when it comes to our personal Holiness, Godliness, purity, the practical side of our sanctification, that we are to live out on a daily basis, because we have been saved by God, and saved for God’s purposes and not our own?

09-22-2019      Part 4    

Read Isaiah                                                                                                                                    Vs. 20.  Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!                                                        Vs.  21.  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

This afternoon we want to come back to our newest subject that we have entitled, “These Times They Are A-Changing!”

And truly, if we would be honest with ourselves, especially in the areas of morality and ethnical practices, beliefs, and expectations that were common place within the Body of Christ, within local church ministry, and within the lives of God’s people.

If we would be honest with ourselves, we know certain things have really change when it comes to certain cultural and societal practices or vices, that are acceptable and that are expected in most cases.

So then, over a period of time with God’s help, we want to be Biblical and scriptural about such matters, as well as, compassionate and caring for those who are struggling in such things.  And yet, we must be direct and uncompromising about these issues without being judgmental, or condemning, or legalistic.

So, over a period of time we will address only a few cultural and societal practices or vices that for some in the Body of Christ, find acceptable and expected in most cases.

By the way, the words, vice or vices, can actually mean, “instead of,” or “in the place of.”

Listen, a vice or vices in our lives at best, are only cheap substitutes that we are trying to use to fulfill an unmet need.  Or, a desire, or a longing for that which is missing in our lives.

And afterwards, we can be easily deceived by the lies of our culture and society to seek out, or to embrace certain kinds of pleasures or experiences.

For example, a vice or vices in our lives maybe a forbidden or taboo thing, or relationship. or, maybe it is a secret sin.  Or, maybe it is a habit, or an addiction that controls and dominates you, and it has a stronghold on you.  And now you are in bondage to it. *You have become a liar, secretive, and very defensive about the vice, or vices in your life. You are able to change the subject when things start hitting to close to home!  You have become Good at blaming others. You are full of self-pity, or anger about something or someone that you have not dealt with in your life. You are in denial and can’t see it!  But others who really care about you, can see that it really has a hold on you!

Again, a vice or vices in our lives, are only cheap substitutes that we try to use to fulfill an unmet need, or a desire, or a longing for that which is missing in our lives.

So then, this afternoon let’s begin to address one of the specific areas that are cultural and societal practices or tend to overlook.                                                                                               Or, tend to underestimate.                                                                                                                    Or, we are deceived by!

Because each one of these areas or a combination of, can be personally addictive and enslaving.               Or, they can be medically harmful, or health damaging for the long-term.                                 Or, they can be a negative witness for Christ, and a rejection of one’s personal holiness that we have been set apart unto.

And lastly, they can be a misuse of one’s Christian liberties and freedoms that Christ die for, and way for!

So, this afternoon let’s begin to address one of the specific areas that are cultural and societal practices or vices, that are acceptable and that are expected in most cases, and our first one will be gambling/betting!

Notice St. John 19:                                                                                                                             Vs. 23. Then the soldiers when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier took a part and also the tunic.  Now, the tunic was without seam and woven from the top in one piece.                                                                                                                      Vs.  24. They said therefore among themselves, let us not tear it (the seamless tunic), but cast lots for it whose it shall be.

Now the scriptures were being fulfilled which says: They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.  Therefore, the soldiers did these things.

Also, Luke 1:                                                                                                                                       Vs. 5.  There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.  Vs. 6.  And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.                  Vs. 7.  But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well-advanced in years.      Vs. 8.  So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,   Vs. 9.  according to the custom of the priesthood, (his lot) fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.

Note: It should be clear that this was used by some even Godly people to make decisions, much like you may flip a coin for a simple decision of what you want for lunch today.

But again, this is different than going to a casino or waging huge bets.

Casting lots is primarily a method for decision making, whereas, gambling is an attempt to build rapid wealth at the expense of others.  So, there are clearly important distinctions to be made between gambling and casting lots.

Now, concerning the subject of gambling/betting interestingly from the Bible there are no verses that I’m aware if that states specifically that one should not, or cannot gamble or bet.

But, that doesn’t mean that there are not some serious problems that one should consider, when it comes to this particular matter.

Listen, just because the Bible does not always speak directly, or give a specific command or a prohibition about certain matters, or certain practices, or certain lifestyle choices.  Doesn’t mean that there is not some real concerns or serious issues that God would not be pleased with nor will it bring Him Glory!

Some other examples.                                                                                                                                                 •Birth control.     •Listening or watching certain kind, movies, television, YouTube content, or music for music videos    •Cloning.     •Domestic violence or abuse.

Now, here are a few important verses from the Bible, that will help us when it comes to making a wise and godly decision or choice, regarding those areas that the Bible says it is not a sin!

See Hebrews 12:                                                                                                                            Vs. 1.  Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

I Corinthians 6: 12.                                                                                                                                            All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.  All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power or authority, or mastery of anyone or anything but God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

I Corinthians 10: 23 &31.                                                                                                             Vs. 23.  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things (edify), or to build, or to build something correctly                                         Or, promote healthy spiritual growth and development.                                                                       Or, to influence correctly, bringing about Godly virtues and character.

Vs. 31.  Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God.

Romans 12: 2.                                                                                                                                    And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

10-06-2019   Part 5   

Now read a paraphrase of I Corinthians 6: 12.

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.  All things are lawful for me, But I will not be brought under the power or authority, or mastery of anyone or anything but God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And also read a paraphrase I Corinthians 10: 23 &31.                                                  Vs. 23.  All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

*Remember edify can mean to build something correctly, a facility, a life, etc.                 *Edify can mean to promote healthy spiritual growth and development in someone.         *Edify can mean to influence so to bring about character and Godly virtues.                

And finally, I Corinthians 10: 31 says, Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all unto the Glory of God!

So, this afternoon we want to return back to our newest subject that we have entitled, “These Times They Are A-Changing!”

And if we were to be honest with ourselves and with one another, especially in the areas of morality and ethnical practices or beliefs that use to be common place.  But now, things have really change when it comes to (certain) cultural and societal practices or vices, that are both desirable and acceptable in most cases.

So then, with Gods help, we are challenging ourselves to be different, so that we can make a difference among family, with our friends, or coworkers, or with anyone else who may know us.

Also, we are challenging ourselves to be different, so that we can make a difference within our culture, within society being both “salt and light, as Jesus said we are to do!” Note: Matthew 5:13-17.

Now this afternoon lets continue to address a specific area that we began two Sunday’s ago, that some would find both desirable and acceptable, and that would be The Matter of Gambling, in all its many forms!

 Whether it is,

  • Casino-style cards games, (Poker, Texas Hold’em, Blackjack/21, etc.)

  • Other card games (Gin Rummy, Spades, Hearts, etc.)

  • Dice games (Craps, etc.)

  • Electronic games (online poker, slot machines or keno).

  • Betting on sporting events (Football, Basketball, Boxing, Horse racing etc.)

  • Pitching quarters (or other coins)

  • Lottery tickets or “scratchers.”

  • Some forms of Raffling.

  • Some forms of Bingo.

  • Some forms of office pool Betting.

  • Games of personal skill (basketball, video games, billiards, bowling, skeet ball, etc.)

  • Mahjong, Native American stick games. And other cultural competitions like dog fighting, cock fighting etc.

Also, remember that gambling is whenever monies are wagered.                                 Or, the wagering of a material thing.                                                                                     Or, the wagering of an animal.                                                                                              Or, even the wagering of a human being!

Now as we said last time concerning the subject of gambling interestingly from the Bible there are no verses that I’m aware of that states specifically that one should not, or cannot gamble.

However, that doesn’t mean that there are not some serious problems that one should consider, when it comes to this particular matter of gambling.

Listen, just because the Bible does not always speak directly, or give a specific command, or imposes a prohibition about certain matters, or certain practices, or certain lifestyle choices that we have made.

Doesn’t mean that there is not some real concerns, or serious issues that God would not be pleased with nor does it bring glory unto His name!

Quote Proverbs 13:11, from the New Living Translation.                                                wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.

Quote Proverbs 28:22, from The New Living Translation.                                               Greedy people try to get rich quick, but do not realize they are headed for poverty.

Quote Proverbs 28:20 from The New Living Translation.                                                   The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble.

Therefore, let’s consider some Godly reasons why to avoid or discontinue gambling.                                                                     

1. Gambling is the unwise stewardship of God’s money that He has blessed us to have.                                  2. Gambling can be personally addictive and can quickly become an obsession in your life.                        3. Gambling may put you in a position of owning someone that you must pay back.      4. Gambling can put you in a position of misusing the financial resources that were intended for other important matters in your family, in your church, or within your community.                                              5. Gambling can be a sign that you may be struggling with the love of money, or the love of material things. By which you think you can have control over your financial future, or your personal needs, or wants, and desires!

Quote I Timothy 6: 9&10 from the New Living Translation.                                          Vs. 9. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.                          Vs. 10. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Now here are some important things to ask yourself and to search your heart before you act, and make a decision, a choice, or a commitment.

1. Is whatever I am doing or considering, will it truly bring Glory, or Worship, or Praise, or Reverence unto our God?                                                                                            2.  Is whatever I am doing or considering, will it bring me closer to God?  Or, Will it improve my relationship with God?  Or, will it help me to be more committee unto God?                                                         3.  Is whatever I am doing or considering could it have a negative affect on my spiritual walk with the LORD, that it impedes, it frustrates, or it hinders me so much that I have stopped following the LORD?             4.  Is whatever I am doing or considering, will it have a negative influence upon those I’m trying to reach for Christ by my witness.  Because now I am perceived as a hypocrite, a phony, or a sell out?                      5.  Is whatever I am doing or considering, could it be displeasing, or dishonoring, or disobedient, or disrespectful unto my Lord and Savior, unto my Heavenly Father, or unto the Holy Spirit who indwells me, so that my God will not hear me when I pray?                                                                                                  6.  Is whatever I am doing or considering, could it be a stumbling block to another person, so that their sensitive conscience is offended and now they are distrusting of me?  Or, by my example, they are now tempted to do as I do.  But unfortunately, they are now enslaved, or weaken, or obsess with what I am doing?7.  Is whatever I am doing or considering, could it bring me under its control, and it becomes an addiction, an obsession, a way of coping, instead of trusting in the LORD.  Now, its become a lifelong habit, or a behavioral issue.

Close with this observation concerning gambling.

Listen, mankind is a gambler at heart because of our sinful nature.  We are willing to take risk, or chances, or depend upon so called “luck,” “or fate,” or beating the odds!   Or, we think we can outsmart the system, or an opponent, or even God Himself!

So much so, that mankind is so self-deceived and is willing to take a chance and gamble his or her eternal soul.

Believing that there is no God to be concerned with.  Or, believing that there is no judgment, no Heaven, no Hell!  Or, some believe that they are good and are acceptable unto God just the way they are!

In fact, some believe that God will save them right up to that moment before they die.

Even though for years they continuously reject Him and sin against Him on a daily basis.  Saying unto themselves “Tomorrow, I will come to God and be saved” or, “Tomorrow, I will change my ways!

Now, here are some youTube ministries who gave some good insight about the subject of gambling that was helpful.

Please check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN_jdKqoq-0&feature=share https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDbp3R0TwO4&feature=share https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrwwxVAFf-U&feature=share