The 21st century disciple is faced with more cultural issues than at any time before. This rapid expansion of erosion is due primarily to the world wide web and 24/7 global media. Therefore, we in the church find ourselves having to give both insiders and outsiders an answer to why we do what we do and offer guidance to disciples on how to set up social media standards in a world that has in many ways gone crazy.
Today tempting trends and social seductive secularism is being heaped on the Christian mind by the powers of darkness trying to make something “stick.” As a result, ministers need to give a new and relevant definition of what it means to, “be in the world, but not of the world.” Although it may be in some ways the “worst of times,” it can also be said to be the “best of times.” Powerless man made traditions are readily exposed, fruitless arguments can be accurately settled, and clear-conscious Christians can enjoy the “fruit of the land!” So get ready to learn how to live holy in the modern age!
2 Timothy 4:1-5, “1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
TODAY’S SERMON TEXT
1 Corinthians 10:23,24,29b,31; “23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others… 29 For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience… 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Four Ways To Help Know if Something is Beneficial:
- Pray and ask God what He desires for your life.
- Read the Bible and seek God’s direction and a personal word.
- Consult your authority (laws, parents, bosses, etc.).
- Consider the church you serve in (each church sets up standards and guidelines to help ensure a Christ-centered testimony in the community they work within).
Two Extremes and One Center Truth:
- Legalism: Every command in the Old Testament is to be identically applied to today’s Christian.
- Liberalism (or Lawlessness): The Old Testament offers nothing good for the Christian in regards to law, practice or morals.
- Love the Law of Christ: Follow Jesus’ teachings and the New Testament (which is basically to apply the morals of the OT into the life of the Christian), Galatians 6:2.
- TATTOOS: Levitcus 19:28, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.” But what about the verse before it? “27 Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” Or the verses further up? “19 Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. “Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.” So should we, (a) Keep all these commands, (b) Keep some, or (c) Keep none? I say “(c) Keep None,” because these specific “Jewish social laws” were not repeated or confirmed in the New Testament. Plus, the reasons for forbidding tattoos in Leviticus was because it was in relationship to worshipping the dead and pagan gods.
- PIERCINGS: Ezekiel 16:11-12, “11 I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, 12 and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.” And, Exodus 21:5-6, “5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” So even those these passages are very much unrelated to today’s ear/body piercings, they still speak of piercing in a positive way.
- WHAT ABOUT OUR BODIES BEING A TEMPLE FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT?: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20,“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” However, just read the three verses above this passage to see the context is sexual immorality (not diet, health, or physical decorations)- specifically with temple prostitutes, “16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” If we try to make these verses apply to tattoos and piercings than you would have to (a) Keep all the Old Testament laws (Galatians 3:10) and (b) Never eat or drink anything unhealthy.
- BOTTOM LINE: For Old Testament laws to be valid for the Christian they must either be (a) Confirmed or (b) Repeated in the New Testament, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Galatians 3:24-26, & Hebrews 8:13. For more info watch our past sermon on, “Jewish Laws.” Therefore, there is nothing forbidding a person to get tattoos or piercings in the NT. Each person should decide on tattoos and piercings between themselves in their conscience and God.
- SECULAR MUSIC: The Bible teaches that music can be used for the following good things, (a) Celebration: Exodus 15:1, (b) Worship: Psalm 150, (c) War: Numbers 10:9, (d) Mourning: Job 30:31, & (e) Romance: Song of Solomon (the whole book might have been sung like an opera or musical) and negatively in (f) Idolatry: Exodus 32:17-19,25. Therefore, all music should be judged individually by its content and not its style or genre. A good question to ask is, “Is the content of this song lovely and praise worthy?” Paul gives two great verses to consider when being led by the Spirit in choosing what music to listen too. Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” And, Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
- TV/MOVIES (INTERNET/VIDEO GAMES): The Bible obviously doesn’t address this kind of technology but it does mention “guarding your eyes/heart.” (a) Eyes: Psalm 119:37, “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” Also see Matthew 6:22-23. (b) Heart: Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Also see Psalm 51:10. Christians should not allow their eyes to view blatant sin like pornography or watch things that may enter their heart and cause them to sin. However, each adult and family, should decide what is best for their heart and be led by the Spirit, Romans 14:3-4,23. Even the Bible tells of violence, cursing, and sinful things, however, it does so in a way to instruct us. Therefore, make sure that whatever you watch does not influence you to sin but rather to live holy.
- BOTTOM LINE: If you can’t watch it or listen to it being mindful of Jesus and His commands cut it out. So for everything else be free to enjoy it in the presence of God!
Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery!” We shouldn’t be slaves to either lawlessness or legalism but rather live Spirit-led lives in total freedom!