- May 8, 2013
- October 25, 2013
- December 18, 2013
- December 16, 2013
- September 3, 2013
|The Preacher's Favorite Passage||
Another year has come and gone and the PFP is still going strong, because of the grace and providence of God mind you. We have posted 51 blog articles (this making 52) over 2013 with just over 26,000 page views with just over 25,000 individual viewers. I'm so grateful to be able to write on a regular basis for this website and so thankful for those that are actually willing to read my small additions to the discussion of the Bible, and here are the top 5 posts.
Baptism (from LMS Productions)
- May 8, 2013
- October 25, 2013
"But It's Just Recreational"
- December 18, 2013
Is Pornography Grounds for Divorce & Remarriage?
- December 16, 2013
Common Sense Questions that a "Church of Christ" Preacher Cannot Clearly Answer, Answered
- September 3, 2013
Thank you so much for reading, see you next year!
As you live your life today, 105 people will have their's ended due to the effects of ingesting, inhaling, shooting up or drinking some sort of drug. Over 6,700 people will be treated at a medical facility because of the misuse of what they might have very well thought to be something simply "recreational" in nature. Being the leading cause of injury death just three short years ago (2010), recreational drug use has become a serious problem over the past few decades (1), maybe since the awakening of the modern mindset sometime during the last two generations. Whatever the cause, drug use is a hurdle which must be met head on by the members of the one and only Body of Christ. But, why? Is it just because it is harmful or deceptive?
It is Harmful & Deceptive
First, let's understand that recreational drug use is, in fact, those things. Since so many today stand for personal choices with regard to the use of substances like marijuana or even alcohol it is hard to get the chance to speak in the discussion. So many are "for" the legalization of substances which are said to be benign when in actuality the same material is said to be harmful. Whether it is marijuana or heroin, it is harmful. From the decrease in the ability to breathe must like that of cigarette smoke (2) to the very visible problems associated with opiates, they all harm the body which was given to us for the glorification of God rather than the gratification of self (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Addiction Is A Real Possibility
This is where the rubber meets the road in the spiritual discussion of one's partaking of recreational drugs. One need not study the Scriptures long before he comes to the realization that God is disgusted by addiction, of any kind. Cheeseburgers to cocaine, an addiction is an addiction. When a person allows something to control them to the point of an addiction he has allowed whatever the object of that obsession to take the place of the Almighty. Since doing so is the very essence of idolatry, the individual taken by such must flee from anything which would lead him to that point (1 John 5:21, 1 Thessalonians 5:22). Just a simple understanding of the harm which addiction can do to one's body, soul, family and reputation the Christian quickly sees that it is in no way something which should be associated with the church of the Lord.
Soberness is the Standard
Just for a second, let's look at something which is very near and dear to my heart, being a preacher of the Gospel aimed at educating individuals in the way of the Lord. The apostle Peter made it abundantly clear that the follower of God is to have within his back pocket, if you will, the answers to those questions which might be asked by those searching for Truth in order to lead them to Christ (1 Peter 3:15). If that is the case, the Christian then must not only have those answers accessible to him but be ready to give them at a moment's notice. Now, how can that be done when one is "stoned"? The interesting thing is that even the slang term used for one that is intoxicated brings forth the idea of one being immovable or unable to do anything (3)!
But, more than that, the mind is vital to the Christian life. Being self-controlled (Galatians 5:23), as will be better defined in our Peeled series later on, is the idea of having government over one's own actions. Since the use of such intoxicants lowers inhibitions and often causes people to act outside of their norm, it is not in congruence with the life of Christ. Furthermore, there are no less than 12 uses of the English word "sober" within the New Testament! If the Christian is to be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6, 5:8, 1 Timothy 3:2, 3:11, Titus 1:8, 2:2, 2:4, 1 Peter 1:13, 4:7, 5:8), then recreational drug use is quickly dispatched as yet another action of the world which is abhorrent to God.
Almost without exception the question and answer times put on by the body of Christ hold within them at least one question regarding the topic of what actions designate the ability for one to be remarried to another after having been divorced. And, in a culture where the horrible dissolving of marriages is as prevalent as it is in the Western world, that is somewhat understandable. However, with the rising number of individuals living post-marriage the question then turns to the acceptable instance in which an individual has the ability to be remarried without risking his eternal abode. That is where our question arises. Is divorce based upon the use of visual stimulants such as pornography grounds for the Father being pleased with the innocent party (we're not going to discuss the guilty part because of the VERY clear exhortation given in Matthew 19:9 as to the inability for the guilty to be remarried with God's approval) being joined together in holy matrimony with another individual?
In order to answer this question, one need only look to the Word of God. Anything outside of the divinely given instructions and commands is superfluous to the discussion being based solely on the emotions, intellect and wisdom of man. Therefore, let's look to the infamous passage in which the Christ gives the one and only exception to the rule of one man, for one woman, for live - Matthew 19:9. In answering the questioning of the Pharisees to Jesus, namely the topic of a man being able to "put away," i.e. divorce, his wife for any reason, Jesus clearly shows that the Godly principle is that individuals stay married once that have entered into that bond (Matthew 19:4-6). Nonetheless, if a couple divorces and plans on marrying other people, He explains that the breaking of the marriage bond must be on the grounds of "fornication (Matthew 19:9, KJV)".
With this comes the inquiry of what falls under the realm of "fornication"? Strong's defines the word translated such as that which is done of a harlot (i.e. a prostitute). In light of an understanding of the principle revolving around prostitution, one should be able to get an idea of whether or not the watching, or any other use of media to reach physical gratification (i.e. listening to or even reading), of pornographic material falls under this distinction. Dictionary.com defines "prostitution" as "a woman, or man, who engages in sexual intercourse for money". So, even the English dictionary points to this "fornication" being a literal, physical, imbibing of the sexual desires outside the realm of marriage.
But, what of the passage which says "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28, ESV)"? That can quickly be addressed with yet another Greek word and definition. You see, the Greek word translated "adultery" is not "pornea," from which we get fornication in Matthew 19:9, but is "moicheuo" or "to commit adultery," which is the derivative of another Greek word meaning "apostate: - adulterer." It is interesting that the phrase used by the Christ in the preceding verses to His first explanation of marriage, divorce and remarriage in the eyes of God used this term instead of the one for the physical intercourse between two individuals outside of the realm of marriage.
Therefore, it is safe to say, and even Biblically accurate to say, that, while looking at an individual to lust after them is an apostasy from the marriage, it is not the breaking of the marriage bond which is defined as fornication. So, no, an individual who catches their spouse using sensory stimulants in order to achieve physical, sexual pleasure, is not Biblically able to be remarried should he break that marriage because of that sin on the part of his spouse. Even though that individual has apostatized from the godly marriage they might have once enjoyed it should not be understood as a freeing act which would allow the innocent to be married to another but rather should be worked upon so as to save the marriage before actual fornication occurs. Remember, "what God has joined together, let not man separate (Matthew 19:6, MKJV)."
"I help people, care about the little guy, I even try to live a life that is morally acceptable and teach others to do the same... I'm a good person, even without believing in some god!" That's the statement, or some derivative of it, that comes out of the mouths of the atheistic community on a regular basis. But, is that actually true? Can one be a good person without the influence of God?
When Paul wrote that the Fruit of the Spirit was embodied in, among the other eight, "goodness" he made the tremendous, yet very unpopular, statement that the idea of goodness deficient of godliness is false. But, how can this be when there are so many "good" people which live outside of Christ?
If we are to imitate that which is good (3 John 11) and God is the only one that can ultimately be deemed as good (Matthew 19:16-17) then the modern idea of goodness is to fall by the wayside and be surpassed by godliness as the definition of what is good. Throughout the Scriptures, the Christian is instructed to carry out works in "meekness of wisdom" (James 3:18-18) which can only be done through "good conduct" which, as defined by James, is a life separated from envy, boasting, lying, confusion, partiality and hypocrisy but having within it peace, gentleness, a willingness to yield, and full of mercy and good fruits. That is true goodness and since all of these things which are part of the works done by meekness of wisdom are directly commanded and defined by God throughout His word, the only source of true goodness would have to be the Bible.
Is it possible to be a good person outside of Christianity? A study of the divine Book would say no. Since that is the case, and the person obeying the Gospel is said to be doing so based upon a good/godly conscience (1 Peter 3:21) then it is safe to say that the only good people are New Testament Christians. I know that is a very controversial statement, but that seems to be the only answer to the question of "Can a person be good without God?" And, if the Christian is going to maintain that good conscience which led him to become a child of God (1 Peter 3:16, 21) and answer the questions posed by the unbelieving (1 Peter 3:15), then he will have to answer in the negative in spite of any reviling and defaming which might come his way because of the answer because it is better to suffer for good than evil(1 Peter 3:17).