Posts Tagged ‘society’

Justice for All

May 17, 2017

Today on Mother’s Day, I am not going to preach about mothers, rather I am going to recognize that for thousands of years, even for kings, the words “Listen to your mother!” are good advice.

I.  A Mother’s Advice:  Proverbs 31:1, 8-9

The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:

Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

In the 19th century there was a movement that thought that Christians should work to bring heaven to earth.  The emphasis was placed on making this world a better place for all.  It became known as the social gospel.  It was warmly embraced by liberal theologians.  There was a reaction to it.  Some felt that too much emphasis was placed on the things of this world to the exclusion of the more important  spiritual dimensions.  Conservative theologians gathered around this call to stress the spiritual dimension of the gospel.

It was never meant to be an either/or question.  It is not either the social gospel or the spiritual gospel.

It is both/and.  It is both the spiritual gospel and the social gospel.

II.  New Testament: James 1:27

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

In the first century widows and orphans were in trouble.  The people of God were to help those who were in trouble.

It is still true today.  The people of God are to help those who are in trouble.  It is not just widows and orphans, but any who are in need.  We are to show compassion and offer guidance and assistance to any who need it.

III.  Justice for All

Christians are called to be salt and light.  We are to work for a better world, not just for Christians, but for all.

God is a just God and Christians should be a just people.

We should seek for justice in our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our communities, our country and our world.

Christianity is not just about the life to come.  It is about life today.

 

 

These are the sermon notes from 5/14/17.  All Bible quotes are from the New King James.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress. I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

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Stand in the Gap

September 14, 2015

Prayer can make a difference in the events in our country.  Sin is prevalent throughout our land.  Will God send judgement?

I.  The Sins of the People:  Ezekiel 22:29

The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.

Oppression comes in many forms.  It may begin as a stronger child picking on those who are weaker.  It continues in the workforce as domineering individuals distribute chores unfairly.  It continues in the business and political world as the powerful create policies that favor certain parties over others.  It may be based on racial, religious, or economic factors.  It is always wrong.

Robbery is taking something that is not rightfully yours.  Yet it is also a form of robbery to cheat on our taxes, to take things from our place of employment, or to spend time at work, cruising the internet for personal reasons.

The mistreatment of the poor and needy goes beyond ensuring that they are not starving.  If they visit our churches, are they treated with the same dignity and respect as people of more influential means?  Are we showing favoritism?  God loves all people without distinguishing between class, education or ability to contribute.

How do we treat those who are new to our country?  Here in the United States we have an issue with illegal immigrants, but does that cause us to treat all immigrants with suspicion?  For that matter, is our handling of illegals just and fair?  What is the right thing to do?

II.  Stand in the Gap:  Ezekiel 22:30

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

It is our responsibility as Christians, not only to do the right thing ourselves, but to pray on behalf of our country for the forgiveness of the sin that is in our land.  Prayer is powerful.  Many people praying is even  more powerful.  The prayers of the people of God can hold off judgement that could rightly fall upon our land At what point does God send judgement?  I do not know.  I do know that prayer can make a difference.

III.  Judgement:  Ezekiel 22:31

 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.

Israel was God’s own chosen people.  They had fallen into sin, ignored the prophets’ warnings, and judgement came on the land.  Some have suggested that America is like a new Israel.  I do not think that is the case.  Even if it was, we should examine our situation.  Sin has increased in our land over the last fifty years.  Is judgement coming for our sins?

I close with II Chronicles 7:14

 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

These are the sermon notes from 8/30/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Good and Evil

July 9, 2015

The Supreme Court has made its’ decision. Gay marriage is now the law of the land. I had prepared this message before that news was made public. I think that the timing of this message was inspired by God.

I. Woe!: Isaiah 5:20-24

“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!

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!

Woe to men mighty at drinking wine,
Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,

Who justify the wicked for a bribe,
And take away justice from the righteous man!

Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble,
And the flame consumes the chaff,
So their root will be as rottenness,
And their blossom will ascend like dust;
Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

I cannot help but think of this recent ruling by the Supreme Court. God’s Word declares homosexual sex to be an abomination in Leviticus 20:13 “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.”. In I Corinthians 6:9-10 it is listed as a sin which is capable of keeping us from heaven ” Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”. It is condemned as evil in both Old and New Testaments, yet we now as a society declare it to be good.

What bothers me even more than our government endorsing gay marriage is when Christian leaders give their approval. There is a growing number of denominations and independent churches that are recognizing gay marriage. This requires either a dismissal of scripture or a drastic reinterpretation. Either route usually involves a sense of intellectual superiority. “You literalists just don’t understand how to interpret scripture.” Or so they say.

It has been a long time since I was in the Marine Corps, but I still remember that there were people who were proud of how much alcohol they could drink and still be conscious. Substance abuse in all its forms is unhealthy for our bodies, and a bad testimony for Jesus Christ.

God is concerned about justice. As the people of God, we too, should care about justice. Our society is better than many, but we should continue to press for just laws and just enforcement of those laws. There is still room for improvement.

These scriptures in Isaiah warn about coming judgement for these sins. We in America should be concerned. What is keeping God from judging our society for our sins?

As a country we have rejected the Law of God. We have removed the Bible and prayer from our schools. We have legalized sin. There is reason to be concerned.

II. Pray!! II Chronicles 7:14

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Judgement is held off by the mercy of God and the presence of Christians in our country. The missionary work that goes forth from the United States is phenomenal. Although there is much evil in our land there is also much good. As Christians we are to humble ourselves before God and ask God to forgive the sin in our lives, and in our land. If we will seek the face of God, if we will turn from our sins, then God will hear our prayers, forgive our sin, and heal our land. It is not necessary for all Americans to be saved. It is important that those who call themselves Christian, behave in a Christ-like fashion. This includes our interaction with those who do not agree with us. God loves everyone. We are to call out to all to return to the God who loves them. Some will listen. Some will not.

These are the sermon notes from 6/28/15. Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress. I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Religious Freedom or Discrimination?

April 23, 2015

Things change.

Not that many years ago, homosexual sex was against the law.  It was listed as a mental illness.  It was a sin.  Gay marriage was unthinkable.

Now, those laws have been either rescinded or forgotten.  They certainly are not enforced.  It has been taken off the list of mental illnesses.  Some churches have embraced it as an alternative lifestyle.  Many states have legalized marriage of same sex couples.

There are still a few holdouts.

Some people of religious faith continue to hold to their view that it is a sin, that gay marriage is a sin.  They want no part of it.  They base their beliefs on a few scriptures.

Leviticus 18:22

 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

Leviticus 20:13

 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

I Corinthians 6:9-10

 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

I Timothy 1:8-11

But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

Romans 1:18-32

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

There are actually still quite a few people who believe that homosexual activity is sinful.  Some of these people are in business.  They believe that it is wrong for them to support a gay marriage by providing services such as photography, baking, or catering.

Is the refusal of these services criminal discrimination, or an exercise in religious freedom?  Should the people newly in power force compliance upon those who have been slow to change?  Or who will not change?

Recently Indiana had a law passed that was meant to protect people of conservative religious views.  It was poorly written, being far too broad in scope. There was an uproar of protest.  The law was quickly changed.  I would like to suggest something more specific to be considered.  Something like:

“Business people who have strong religious convictions against gay marriage will not be forced to provide services to support a gay marriage ceremony so long as those services are available by another business within a fifty mile radius.” 

This type of law would protect the right of the individual’s religious conviction while still allowing the desired services to be obtained.

Of course, maybe we have become a society that will not tolerate disagreement or noncompliance.

 

Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

Minimum Wage

February 19, 2015

People like to suggest that raising the minimum wage is in response to inflation.  I would suggest that raising the minimum wage causes inflation.

If a gallon of milk cost one dollar ten years ago, and today a gallon of milk costs four dollars we recognize that the gallon of milk has not changed.  Rather, we look at it as inflation and consider it to be a bad thing.

When minimum wage changes, the product itself, a basic hour of low-skill work hasn’t changed.  The cost has been inflated.

Another way of looking at it is to say that what two dollars used to purchase, now requires seven dollars to purchase.  The thing being purchased hasn’t changed.  The value of the dollar, what the dollar will buy, has changed.

When we increase the minimum wage, we devalue the dollar.

I am not an economist and I am not going to go back over the last fifty years and see the precise changes in minimum wage and the effect on the economy.  I have, however, been living through the last fifty years, and in my observation, raising the minimum wage causes economic turmoil.

The minimum wage is meant to be a starting point for employment.  As workers develop skills and demonstrate a solid work ethic, they may be rewarded with higher paying jobs.  New workers entering the job market take their place and the process moves onward.

When the minimum wage is raised it has an affect on what other employees are paid as well.  People often view their pay in relationship to the minimum wage so to keep employees, wages across the board need to go up.  Higher wages means higher operating costs.  These costs are passed on to the consumer, resulting in inflation.

Currently, people who make minimum wage may be eligible for a variety of assistance programs from the government.  These include food stamps, rent assistance, utilities assistance and other programs.  These programs help people to live a better life while making minimum wage. Perhaps we could add an option of financial training.  We should help to teach people how to live on their income, rather than beyond their income.

People should look to better themselves by finding better jobs, not by trying to force employers to pay more for an hour of basic labor.

Raising the minimum wage is a bad idea.

Plans, Promises, and Truthfulness

February 12, 2015

Years ago, when I started this blog, I wrote an article four times a week.  Those articles were about all kinds of different topics.  For quite a while now, I have been simply posting sermon notes.  I am going to try to get back to writing articles on a variety of topics.  The sermon notes will still come out on Mondays.  On Thursdays, I will be writing something different. At least, that is the plan.  Please feel free to make comments on anything that I write.  I enjoy interaction.  Thank you. 

Have you ever wondered what the world would look like if everyone was truthful?  If everyone kept their word?  If everyone kept their promises? This world would be a better place.

A number of years ago, I told my philosophy class that I tried to always tell the truth.  They laughed.  Apparently, they thought that I was lying, because, of course, everyone lies, at least in their minds. That memory has stayed with me as a sad commentary on society today.

I do not mean that we have to share every thought that goes through our minds. Some things we can keep to ourselves.

Sometimes, it is important to use tact when speaking the truth.  If we speak the truth with the right attitude, in the right way, at the right time,  it is a very good thing.  This is not always easy to do.

Wouldn’t it be nice if people kept their word?  If we tell someone we are going to do something, we should do it.  This is especially important in the business world.  If we hire someone to do some kind of work and they take the money but don’t do the work, then we are cheated.  On the other hand, if someone does the work, but isn’t paid, then they are cheated.  Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens far too often. It makes us suspicious of people.  Until someone has proven themselves, we may not trust them.

Promise keeping is especially important.  When my children were young, I wanted to impress on them the importance of keeping promises.  One way that I did that was to use promises very sparingly.  I would tell my children that I was planning to do something, but that sometimes plans have to change.  That way if something came up, and I had to change my plans, I was not breaking a promise.  When I did make a promise, I made sure that it was something that I could keep.

Incidentally, wedding vows are a form of promise.  For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, forsaking all others for as long as we both shall live.   This is not something to be taken lightly.  There may be bad days, but your commitment to each other should bring you through them.

Maybe we cannot transform the entire world, but we can change a little part of it.  May we learn to be truthful people who keep our word.

Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

The Ten Commandments

October 30, 2014

The Ten Commandments were given to the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai.  To this day they provide, not just a code of conduct for a religious group, but a foundation for ethical behavior that has stood for thousands of years.  Today, however, it is being removed not just from our public buildings but from many of our lives.  Today I hope to reinforce the foundation of our code of conduct, The Ten Commandments.

I.  Our Relationship to God:  Deuteronomy 5:6-15

‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

‘You shall have no other gods before Me.

‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 10 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

11 ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

12 ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

The first commandment seems simple enough.  Today, at least in western culture, the God of Abraham is clearly the primary deity that is addressed.  There is more to it however.  Is God our top priority, or is He merely a part of our lives, and a small part at that?  God is meant to be the most important part of our lives.  If anything else is more important to us, then we have set that thing up as a god in our lives.

God is not something of this world.  There can be no image of God because God is a Spirit, not a thing.  Making an image of God would change our idea of the nature of God.  God is eternal.  Material things all have a beginning.  God is an eternal Spirit, not some material, created thing.

Profanity used to be reserved for men in certain trades.  Today profanity is used by men, women and children in all walks of life.  The name of Jesus Christ is used as an exclamation of anger, not just as an expression of praise.  People curse all sorts of things using the name of God.  Even the common expression of surprise or dismay may be represented by the acronym OMG!  Clearly our society has not taken the third commandment very seriously.

We can add a second dimension to this commandment today.  As Christians we have taken upon ourselves the name of Christ.  Are we making a mockery of that holy name by our unholy lives?

The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.  We are so busy today.  Many have discarded the practice of a day of rest.  It was meant to be a blessing to us, not a burden, and yet many have rejected that gift.  Our lives are diminished by not observing a day devoted to rest and worship.

II.  Our Relationship to Parents:  Deuteronomy 5:16

 ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

Our attitude towards authority begins at home.  If we learn to respect and obey our parents it will impact the rest of our lives.  We will respect and obey our teachers.  We will respect and obey our employers.  We will respect and obey the legal authorities.  We will respect and obey God.   We first learn at home that obeying the rules brings reward, being disobedient results in punishment.  That is a lesson that is good all life long.

Parents take care of their children when they are young.  When the parents become old, the children take care of them.  The church and the government only have to help those who do not have family.  This was a basic rule of society for generations.

III.  Our Relationship Towards Others:  Deuteronomy 5:17-21

 ‘You shall not murder.

18 ‘You shall not commit adultery.

19 ‘You shall not steal.

20 ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

21 ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’

Our society has distorted the sixth commandment.  They seem to think that to murder and to kill are synonymous.  Killing a human being in self defense, or combat, or executing a criminal are not covered by this commandment.  Of course, Jesus expanded this commandment and told us that we were not to hate our neighbor.  We are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Sexual sin is rampant in our society.  God created us as sexual beings, but the only appropriate place for sex is within the bonds of marriage.  The only form of biblical marriage is a man and a woman.

Do not steal is not supposed to cover only things over a certain value.  Taking small items that do not belong to us is still stealing.  Taking things from work is stealing.  Even cheating on our tax returns is stealing.  Not fulfilling a contract is stealing.  Not giving an honest days work for an honest days pay is stealing.

Do not lie.  I once told my class at the college that I do not lie and they laughed at me.  They assumed that statement itself was a lie.  Lying has become a rampant disease in our society to the point that you really don’t know who you can trust to speak the truth.  That is a sad commentary on the state of our country.  How much better would our world be if we could trust people to simply speak the truth?

Do not be jealous of your neighbor, or envious of the things that they have in their life.  Learn to be happy with what you have in your own life.  Covetousness makes us believe that we need some thing to be happy.  All we truly  need to be happy is to be in a right relationship with God.

Deuteronomy 5:29

Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!

These are the sermon notes from 10/19/14.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any  money from them.

 

Justice and Forgiveness

April 10, 2014

Last night in our Bible study at church, we were discussing the Lord’s Prayer and the emphasis on forgiveness.

And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.  (Luke 11:4)

We were in agreement that it is necessary for us to forgive those who have wronged us.

Then someone asked about justice.  Just the day before, a family had observed the one year anniversary of a tragic event.  A baby had been shaken by his father, causing severe damage.  The child went through months of seizures, and has lasting damage that, unless miraculously healed by God, will likely be permanent.  While the baby fought for his life, and while the mother and family dealt with the multiple treatments, seizures, and ongoing effects, the father moved out, and was free to go about his business while the justice system went through the various steps leading eventually to conviction and confinement.  The family was, and is, concerned about justice.  A wrong had been done, a penalty should be paid.

How do we reconcile forgiveness and justice?  This blog does not claim to present the final solution to that problem, but rather, a starting point for thought, and perhaps discussion.

I would suggest that forgiveness is an act of an individual, while justice is a function of society.  Forgiveness is an attitude that allows us to let go of the anger, resentment and hatred that poisons our hearts.  Justice is a necessary component of society that punishes wrongdoers, thus preventing us from taking matters into our own hands.

It would be wrong to think that God only supports forgiveness.  The Mosaic Law set forth laws, and punishments for those that broke the law.  These penalties were considered to be just.  It would be wrong to think that the God of the New Testament, with the emphasis on forgiveness; and the God of the Old Testament, with an emphasis on judgement, are incompatible, or different Gods.  God is both just and forgiving.

There are consequences to wrongdoing.  These consequences can be both temporal and eternal.  God is both merciful and just.  We can be forgiven the eternal consequences of our sins, and still face the temporal consequences of our actions.

For the believer who has been wronged, it is important for us to forgive the wrongdoers and leave the consequences for their actions in the hand of God.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

Clearly there is a tension between justice and forgiveness.  As individuals we must forgive those who have wronged us.  As a society we must pursue justice for those who have been wronged.  The Holy Spirit can help us have the ability to forgive in our hearts,  and the wisdom to pursue justice in our land.

Any ads that accompany this article are placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

Friendship

February 27, 2014

Sometimes people are lonely.  It is important to have friends and family to share the challenges and adventures of this life.

I.  Be Friendly:  Proverbs 18:24

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

In order to have friends, we must be friendly ourselves. I have spoken with many people over the years who have been lonely.  I encourage them to reach out to others.  We are able to form friendships by recognizing things that we have in common.  As Christians, the first thing that we share is a love for Christ, and a focus on the Word.  That alone, can be the basis for friendship.  However, it is also good to find other shared interests as well.

When we do have friends it is necessary to cultivate those relationships.  They require time and attention.  Getting together for coffee, meals, and all kinds of activities are all part of developing our friendships.

In our relationships, we should share the experiences of life with our friends.  We should weep with those who weep.  We should rejoice with those who rejoice.  A happy experience, when shared, becomes even happier.  A sad experience becomes more bearable when it is shared.  Do not downplay the feelings of your friends.  Do not tell them that the thing that they are experiencing, whether by weeping or rejoicing, is no big deal.  Simply share in the experience with them.

II.  Choose Friends Carefully: Proverbs 12:26

The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray.

We can have many friends.  Our friendships can be on various levels.  Not everyone can be our best friend.  We should be careful to cultivate relationships in such a way that our closest friends are people who will have a godly influence.

We can be friends with unbelievers.  Actually, one of the most effective forms of evangelism is friendship evangelism.  We share the gospel with our friends.  It is important that in our friendships with unbelievers that we do not compromise our beliefs.

The idea of friendships with unbelievers does not extend to dating.  I strongly disapprove of “missionary dating” which is dating someone who is unsaved in order to share the gospel with them.  Far too often, it is the believer who is dragged down in this kind of situation.  Dating is the first step in looking for a spouse, and we should be looking for a spouse who shares our faith.

III.  Speaks Like a Sword:  Proverbs 12:18

There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  This is a saying that our parents taught us as children to deal with the hurtful words of others.  Sadly, it isn’t true.  Words can hurt.  They can hurt a lot.  We should be careful in our relationships to speak words that promote health, that encourage and strengthen, rather than words that cut, and tear down.

IV.  Stop Striving:  Proverbs 20:3

It is honorable for a man to stop striving,
Since any fool can start a quarrel.

God can give us the wisdom to end an argument.  There are times when we must simply agree to disagree, but we do not have to be disagreeable.  We do not need to get angry when people do not agree with us.  Anyone can start a fight, it takes wisdom to know how to avoid them, or to work through them.

V.  Life is Better With Friends:  Proverbs 15:16-17

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
Than great treasure with trouble.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.

Life is better when we have the love of family and friends.  If we had tremendous wealth, but did not have love in our lives, that would be tragic indeed.  The person who has love, has what is truly important.

These are the sermon notes from 2/23/14.  Any advertisement that accompanies this blog is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Big Brother?

June 13, 2013

Apparently we are being watched.  Well, not all the time, but our online visits and our phone calls are being monitored.  By this, I do not mean that they are actually listening in to our phone calls, or reading our emails, but rather they are tracking what sites we visit, and where we  place our calls.This has upset a lot of people.  It is considered by many to be an invasion of privacy, an act of spying on the American people.

For whatever reason, this particular action by our government does not bother me.  Certainly our government does other things that bother me, and maybe this action should, but it just doesn’t.  I have always known that our internet servers, and our phone companies have had this information in their records, so I have never considered it to be truly private.  You know, just a secret between me and whoever-it-is at the corporation.  You can’t lose what you never had.

I also understand that it can be beneficial.  That it is one more tool in the war against terror.  It is an act of diligence.

Of course it could be misused.  Instead of seeking out terrorists, it could be turned against any interest group.

Like any other weapon in our arsenal, or tool in our tool bag; it needs to be used wisely, carefully, and with supervision.