The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Posts Tagged ‘holiness’

Ear and Eye Choices

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 28, 2008

Can we LISTEN to and WATCH anything we want…AND if we can: How does this affect our lives?

YES – we “can” listen to or watch what we “want”. Even as a child of God, we still have the ability to make choices. Paul had that ability…and as a Christian, some of Paul’s choices weren’t very good ones! He tells us in Rom 7:15, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

When we say we can listen to or watch “anything we want“, that speaks of and sounds like it’s all up to us, that God has given no direction in these matters, and that we are “our own”…and some others might say rebellion.

SO: How can we answer the question, “Can we listen to and watch anything we want“? To find the answer, let’s look at it in THREE WAYS: 

I. WHAT IS OUR ATTITUDE?

What’s your attitude on what you bring into the “eye-gate” and the “ear-gate”? What we view and what we hear can be broken down into 2 categories: Things of God, which are ALWAYS GOOD, and Things of the World, which are NOT ALWAYS BAD. Yes, you’re “reading it right“! You’ve just read that an Independent Baptist preacher said there are things of this world that are not always bad! For example: Do guns kill people? NO – People kill people! SO THEN: What does a television do to people? NOTHING! [Now just follow along with me] TVs, computers, radios, monitors – they’re all inanimate objects! These all LACK the QUALITIES of a living thing!

When we come home, our TV doesn’t automatically turn on, it doesn’t ask me how my day went, nor it doesn’t even take out the dogs or trash (YET!!!)…because it’s inanimate! AH…BUT the question is: What is our ATTITUDE toward these inanimate objects?

We will say that the TV is brainwashing us and our kids. We will say that the internet is just as bad, if not worse than, Hollywood. We will call these THINGS “time-wasters“…and they are…IF YOU LET THEM BE! These things will corrupt you and your children…IF YOU LET THEM! Please, let’s stop displacing the blame! Is it the TV’s fault or the internet’s fault for corruption in your home? Don’t they come with an OFF button? Who’s in control here? You’re allowing these inanimate objects to control you when you have the ability to make godly choices!

II. WHAT IS THE AFFECT?

What’s the affect of what we listen to and watch? What’s the affect of what comes through the eye and ear gates? There must be a profound and lasting affect on us, because Paul said in 1 Cor 6:12, “…all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any“. Paul’s saying that he could become a SLAVE unto what would come through his eye and ear gates!

Now here’s something that needs to be asked: “Will what I see and listen to make me it’s SLAVE?” Something that has an AFFECT on us will battle for our AFFECTION! How can we become a slave to inanimate objects and the things we hear and see? When we lose our control

We become enslaved when we’re brought under the power and influence of something else! Here’s a great exercise to determine if we’re under the influence of what we watch or listen to…can you say, “Thank you, Lord, for what I’m watching or for what I’m listening to…and I give you the glory for it“.

III. WHAT KIND OF ATTACHMENT IS THERE?

Do you agree we develop an attachment to things that affect us? We do, and I would say that it does matter what affects us because there’s a great chance of attachment to them.

What do you like to watch and what do you like to listen to? What’s your attitude with it? What affect do those things have on you? What kind of attachment is there?

HONESTLY ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS AND YOU’LL KNOW WHAT KIND OF EAR AND EYE CHOICE YOU’RE MAKING!

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Change

Posted by Pastor Szekely on June 4, 2008

Change?

(Note: This IS NOT an endorsement for Obama – He will bring change, but not for the better!)

As you’re probably aware, the title of this post has been used and used and used in great lengths as of late, and I’m sure we won’t stop hearing about it until November! Of course after the election, no matter who wins the nomination, it will most likely be “politics as usual” and “change” will once again just be an overused word…anyway…

I wanted to use this word to describe what I read this morning in my personal time in God’s Word…

Ezekiel 46:9, “…when the people of the land shall come before the LORD in the solemn feasts, he that entereth in by the way of the north gate to worship shall go out by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth over against it.”

When you read verse nine do you notice that folks who came to worship God came in one way and left another way? That really spoke to me in this way: They couldn’t leave the same way they came in! Oh how that ought to be for us in a spiritual sense when we enter into the House of God to worship Him!

We ought to be changed in our church services! Everything we do as we try to worship God in church ought to change us. We ought to submit unto the Holy Spirit as we sing those Scriptural songs and as we listen to the teaching and preaching that’s before us! We ought to come before God every time in His House with the attitude, “Father, I want to know You more; I want to know more of You“. Knowing God more through His Word WILL HAVE a dramatic affect on us that WILL bring about a true change!

Oh dear friends, pray that you would be “conformed into the image of His dear Son”, and that you would be changed to be more like Him every time you are in God’s House. Have your services to God in church be meaningful and desire to heed what He says and do what He wills, and you won’t leave the same way you came in!

OH, LET ME GET TO CHURCH!!!”

ONLY GOD GIVES US CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN!!!

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Parents as Examples

Posted by Pastor Szekely on May 23, 2008

 

Charles Barkley – loser of millions of dollars due to  the sin of gambling, despiser of Christians [read full story on this statement here], lost and undone without the Lord Jesus Christ – – but he makes a great point!

 

Who ought to be our children’s role model? Who ought to be the ones our sons and daughters want to be like and to follow? who ought to be our kids’ examples?

 

The word example means “a pattern; a copy; that which is proposed to be imitated”. Throughout the Bible, God gives many patterns to follow and He also gives many patterns NOT TO follow…for example:

 

ONES TO FOLLOW    

 

1) THE LORD JESUS CHRIST – He’s Our Greatest Example:

Luke 9:23, “And he [JESUS] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

John 15:9, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”

 

2) THE APOSTLE PAUL:

1 Cor 4:16, “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me”

1 Cor 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ”.

 

3) PASTORS

2 Pet 5:1-3, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”

Heb 13:7, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”

 

THEN, there are examples of:

 

ONES NOT TO FOLLOW

    

2 Tim 4:10, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world”

Lev 10:1, “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.”

John 6:70-71, “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”

 

HOW ABOUT PARENTS – MOM and DAD…and even GRANDMA and GRANDPA?

 

Parents are examples unto their children, whether we like it or not or whether we know it or not. Sometimes parents are examples to follow, but sometimes their examples NOT to follow.

 

As Parents in our relationship with our children, we must strive to provide the proper example unto them. 

Prov 23:26, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”

 

God wants our lives as parents to be the kind of example that is consistent with what we profess. We need to “practice what we preach” before them!

 

As parents provide the proper example for their children, will there any room for mistakes? Yes, there has to be. Every one of us is fallible, and therefore, every one of us makes mistakes…BUT: is there a difference between mistakes and hypocrisy?

           

Mistakes – we show our fallibility; we make wrong judgments at times; we misinterpret situations.

Hypocrisy – living by a double standard; living one way in public vs. living another way in private.

 

Question: What do you think would be more detrimental to a child: mistakes or hypocrisy?

 

We as parents need to live a life of integrity and openness before our family. We need to admit mistakes when they occur and apologize if we wrongfully offend our children, rather than ignoring or justifying them…now that would be a good example for them to follow!

 

WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLES CAN PARENTS BE TO THEIR CHILDREN?

 

Here’s just a brief list of examples I’ve compiled for us as parents on “how to” be a good and godly role model for our sons and daughters: 

-You follow through on what you promise.

-You show a genuine interest in your child(ren).

-You are a source of encouragement.

-You DO NOT “roast” the Pastor at lunchtime after church.

-You honor God by being in His House, reading His Word, tithing and offering, etc.

-You deal fairly with others in business transactions.

-You DO NOT say one thing in front of others, but do the opposite at home.

-You treat your mate with respect and reverence.

-You go back through the checkout lane and give back the extra change the clerk accidentally gave you.

 

WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLE ARE YOU SETTING FOR YOUR KIDS?

In many instances, our children watch our lives more than they listen to our words.

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Modesty – It Matters: The Need for Modesty

Posted by Pastor Szekely on May 7, 2008

[This is post #3 of 3 – please click here to begin at post #1 on “Modesty – It Matters”]

WHY IS MODESTY SO IMPORTANT?

 1) Because immodesty increases sin (Prov 23:27-28), and it is modesty that curbs immodest behavior – that behavior which increases sin…and

2) When mankind fell into sin, the heart became darkened and desperately wicked…

GOD WANTS US TO BE MODEST IN OUR BEHAVIOR!

Immodesty has an identity as we’ve seen in our last post in Proverbs 7. As with immodesty, modesty also comes with an identity. This is very important to note. Deut 22:5 tells us, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” What is God telling us in this verse? Simply: Men ought to wear men’s clothes and women ought to wear women’s clothes! Why does it say that God is telling us this? If men were to wear women’s clothing, or if women were to wear men’s clothing, that would be an abomination before God. So God is telling us – He’s reiterating to us – the Bible fact that man and woman have different identities! You should be able to look at someone and recognize that person as a man or a woman…whether a young person or a child is a boy or a girl.

Babies Indentified in ColorBTW: Did you know – The idea of dressing newborns in either blue or pink is rooted in the Bible fact of identity and modesty? Blue is a “boy’s color” while pink is a “girl’s color”. This speaks of identity. And modesty is behaving according to a standard of what is proper, decent, and pure…especially in the display of one’s body. So even at birth we try to display a modest difference in identity!

But soon after infancy we find out that this world tries to “wipe out” the different identities, or if they can’t be wiped out, this world tries to make these identities immodest! It’s getting more difficult to buy clothes for children today even though there are many clothes out there. Much of today’s fashions either try to make our sons look like a girl, or they try to make our daughters look like a boy…or an immodest harlot with midriffs and tight, revealing clothing.

In many cases and most often, it’s the way a woman looks and her modesty that are under attack from the enemy. Men also need to be on guard and aware as well, but most often it is the woman who is under attack. Why is this?

The woman was created for the man [Gen 2:18], and God brought her unto the man [Gen 2:22]. And then Adam said in vs23-24: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Now you might say, “Well, what does that mean?” It means that the woman was made for the man – to compliment him, NOT to compete against him – she was made to be his companion and they both, to become “one flesh”. God knows this, man knew this, and the devil knows it! This is why the woman’s modesty and dress is most often under attack. Immodesty is used by the devil to make man fall. God knows this, and that’s why modesty IS the Bible way.

Ladies, would you consider yourself modest in the way you think, act, and dress? 1 Tim 2:9-10 says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” Let me give you 3 good questions to ask yourself as you examine your apparel:

#1: Is it too short?

Dresses, skirts, blouses, tops, shorts, (swimwear?  It’s more like “underwear” today!)

#2: Is it too tight?

Dresses, skirts, pants, tops – They need to have some slack to be modest!

#3: Is it too low?

Tops; Wedding dresses – If there’s ever going to be a day in your life that you should look chaste, modest, and pure, it should be your wedding day.

 

What are the goals of modesty? If you read and remember my first post on modesty I asked the question: What in the world do we wear? I said that it’s more important to ask “How do I wear” rather than “What do I wear”…why? BECAUSE THE REAL ISSUE IS THE HEART! “How you dress on the outside says a lot about you on the inside!”

 

Now if this is true (and it is), let me ask you this: Where do goals come from? Goals begin internally (in your heart) and they’re expressed externally (in the way you act; in the way you dress). So the goals of modesty are a heart issue! Modesty or immodesty will begin in the heart (internally), and it will be expressed in the way you act and dress (externally).

 

For example: Why do you dress the way you do? What kind of reactions are you trying to get? Can a person dress well (attractively) without being seductive? It really comes down to a ‘heart issue’. Attractiveness is different than sexuality. The world equates the two by getting us to think that to be attractive is to flaunt the intimate parts of your body. That is utterly wrong! What we ought to be attracted to is one “professing godliness with good works”, and “the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Pet 3:4).

 

There ought to be two goals of modesty:

 

#1: TO GLORIFY GOD 

 

1 Cor 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

1 Cor 6:19-20, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

 

How I wear my ________” is all about glorifying God. When a Christian gets dressed, that person is dressing a body that belongs to God!

 

#2: TO PLEASE GOD 

 

2 Cor 5:9, “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”

1 John 3:21-22,”Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”

 

 “Do I please God with what I put on”…“Am I covering my nakedness, and am I setting out to be modest”…these ought to be our questions.

 

Modesty matters – It’s the Bible Way – and it begins in the heart…it’s a heart issue. Modesty is behaving according to a standard of what is proper, decent, and pure…especially in the display of one’s body…

And that’s all that God asks for.

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Modesty – It Matters: Immodesty

Posted by Pastor Szekely on May 6, 2008

[This is post #2 of 3 – please click here to begin at post #1 on “Modesty – It Matters”]

Before the fall, man and woman were both naked and they lived that way without any shame: Gen 2:25, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” But after their fall into sin, it was a different story: Gen 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” God “clothed them” with “coats of skin”. Coat – means to cover, and God covered up their nakedness! Right here, at the fall of mankind into sin, God gives to us a good pattern for modesty!

What’s the reason for modesty? When mankind fell into sin, the heart became darkened and wicked. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” And God replied, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” God knows better than we of how wicked our heart can be! And so because of sin, man knew that he was naked, he then knew what it was like to know shame, and he became immodest. This means that he became unchaste, lewd, impure, and obscene.

 

Before the fall = innocence and purity, but after the fall = obscenity and impurity!

 

So a real reason for modesty is that it curbs immodest behavior that increases sin! Immodesty increases sin [see Prov 23:27-28], but modesty curbs lewdness, impure and obscene thoughts, and an unchastely behavior.

 

We need to be modest:

–In the way we act – not boastful and excessive, but restrained by remembering “Who owns us” [Phil 4:5, “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”]

–In the way we think – immodesty and the filthiness of sin ought to make us blush, and it ought to be embarrassing.

in the way we look – “What in the world do we wear, and how do we wear what we wear”?

 

Now the Bible gives to us a clear contrast between modesty and immodesty, or modesty and “the strange woman” / the immodest womanProverbs 7:1-21 gives us a good description of immodesty.

 

Briefly through this text, the Bible says that this ‘strange woman’ / this immoral and Immodest Womanimmodest woman is different in attire, or in the way she looksvs10: “And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot…” She has the “attire of an harlot”: skimpy, tight, suggestive…clothing that would draw attention to herself in an intimate way! But a modest woman would be clothed in such a way so as to NOT draw undue attention to herself in an intimate way.

 

She is also different in attitude, or in the way she thinksvs10b-11: “…and subtil of heart. She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house”. She’s sly, and her loudness and stubbornness reveal her attitude, or the way she thinks – disobediently and rebelliously! Her face shows an attitude of being shameless – vs13: “So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him”. A modest woman is adorned with a “meek and quiet spirit”: her temper is calm; she’s content; she has a heart free from lust, pride, envy, and irritability.

 

She is also different in approach, or in the way she acts – [read through Prov 7:11-21]. She has a strategy (vs12-13) and a speech (vs14-21) to cause the soul to sin. This IS NOT a modest woman! (Remember: Immodesty means unchaste, lewd, impure, obscene)

 

*So then MODESTY means: orderly and decorous; well-mannered and respectable; of good behavior.

 

Seeing the contrast of immodesty and modesty in Proverbs 7, and knowing this, is very important when we ask “how to be” modest and when we set out to be modest! God introduced modesty in the Garden. Adam and Eve weren’t ashamed before the fall: they were orderly; decorous. But because of their fall into sin, immodesty was also introduced, and God had to make provision for their modesty. That’s the way He wanted them to be – modest!

 

Again, it’s more important to know why we wear what we wear…Because if we know why, then we’ll know what to wear!

 

Next and final post on Modesty: The NEED for Modesty…coming soon!

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Modesty – It Matters: Nakedness

Posted by Pastor Szekely on May 6, 2008

I’d like to write three posts [counting this one 🙂 ] on the subject of MODESTY, and they can all be filed under the main title: “Modesty – It Matters”, or “What in the World do We Wear?”. Here it goes…

INTRODUCTION

In many Independent Baptist Churches and with many Independent Baptist people, what we wear garners just as much, if not more attention and more energy than evangelizing the lost, praying for the Pastor and missionaries, or being discipled on why and how God wants us to give. What we wear, in many circles, has become the mark of spiritual maturity and the mark of personal separation.

Please don’t get me wrong: what we wear IS important, and I’m not trying to minimize the issue. It needs to be taught and preached in our homes and in our churches. But what is important about what we wear? Is it: What we actually wear, or why we actually wear what we wear?

What we wear cannot be more important than why we wear what we wear. For example: What a person may wear can be “right”, but that person may be wearing something “right” and won’t know why! Then whose conviction is it? Or, that person may wear something that’s “right”, but it may be worn “wrong”! I believe it’s more important to know why we wear what we wear…because if we know why, then we’ll know what to wear! IF WE KNOW WHY…THEN WE’LL KNOW WHAT…

NAKEDNESS

In the Garden of EdenWhy do we wear clothing? First of all, we wear clothing to cover up our nakedness! After Adam disobeyed God in Genesis 3, Man and Woman both knew they were naked, and they went about to cover up themselves: 3:7-11, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”

Of course, man’s work at trying to cover up his own nakedness was truly insufficient, so God clothed them: 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

How does the Bible define nakedness? Yes, the Bible DOES define what it means to be nude, and we ought to follow the Bible’s definition and not go by how the world defines the term! Let’s look at just 3 passages of Scripture to understand the Bible-definition of nakedness:

#1: Isaiah 47:1-3, “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.”

Babylon had been considered like a delicate woman (vs1), but because of her wretchedness, she would be reduced to disgrace and would reap God’s vengeance!

This passage of Scripture is a similitude – Babylon is being represented as a woman…a woman who goes from honor to humiliation…so: What was part of the humiliation? Her nakedness!

How does God explain (in similitude) a way that a person is naked…in God’s eyes? Read again Vs2-3a, “Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen…” When the legs were bare to the point of the thighs being uncovered, her shame and nakedness were seen!

 

“Cover up your thighs or you’ll be naked?” Maybe not in the eyes of Man…but it “looks” that way in the Eyes of God!

 

 #2: Exodus 28:40-43, “And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.”

 

God wanted the priests to wear breeches. Breeches were undergarments to conceal the private parts of the body. And the Bible says in this passage that the private parts of the body which were to be covered were “the loins even unto the thighs”! So we can say: “the [uncovered] loins even unto the thighs” would equal nakedness [see the underlined vs42 again].

 

#3: John 21:3-7, “Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.”

 

Naked in Scripture doesn’t always mean and what we think of as being ‘fully nude’. Before he jumped into the sea, Peter grabbed his fisher’s coat, but the Bible says that he was naked. Was he “fully nude” in front of the other fishermen? Not so. Undergarments and Tunics were worn during these times. So why then did Scripture call him naked? Maybe his thighs were uncovered; maybe his chest wasn’t covered. We do know that Peter took his fisher’s coat to cover up his nakedness to go unto the Lord. This could very well tell us that even our upper torsos ought to be covered to be modest!

 

We wear clothing to cover up our nakedness; and nakedness, or to be nude and immodest, Biblically-speaking, is to have our thighs and upper torsos uncovered. Remember, if our thighs and upper torsos become uncovered, our “private parts” may be revealed. Modesty protects our privacy. We definitely see the opposite today in this world with immodesty and a lack of the body’s privacy!

 

So if it is understood what God calls naked, and if it is also understood why we wear clothing [to cover up our nakedness], then the next question should be: How should we wear this clothing to cover up our nakedness? When we answer this question, then ultimately we’ll be able to answer, “What clothing should we wear to cover up our nakedness?” How should we wear this clothing to cover up our nakedness? The answer is modestly. This will be explained…

 

Next post: The Contrast between Modesty and Immodesty…stay tuned!

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Identifying Marks of Backsliding

Posted by Pastor Szekely on April 27, 2008

Backsliding

As I wrote at the end of my last post, Being Up Front on Backsliding, Someone once said, “If you were ever closer to the Lord than you are right now, you’re backslidden.”

 

In this post, I’d like to note that there are several identifying marks that make known a backslidden condition…and here they are:

 

1. There’s a Loss of Heavenly Values

-When the excitement and thrill of Bible truth grows weak…

-When worldly pleasures take hold and claim our interest and time…

-When the Bible gets dull…

-When prayer is commonplace…

-When church attendance isn’t that important…

-When taking a stand for Christ is too hard…

These are identifying marks of a backslidden condition! Remember when, for example, you “used to” talk about what you read in God’s Word? Now…you avoid conversation with others about personal devotion and the Scriptures…why’s that?

 

2. There’s a Loss of Conviction of Sin

When I was growing up, my mother tended bar. Every morning as we went to school, we’d stop in to see her [Where I lived, bars opened in the morning for the night-shift guys]. Anyway, when we would pop in to see her before the bus stop, we would be given gum, Slim Jims, and occasionally even a soda pop. Now we would only be there for a few minutes, but when we stepped out of the bar we couldn’t help but notice how bright the outside was! Just in that short time, our eyes adjusted to the darkness in the bar.

 

What’s the lesson here? The closer we get to sin, the less we see anything wrong with it! The more we become adjusted to it, the more we lose our conviction. That’s an identifying mark of a backslidden condition!

 

3. Laziness in Service

A tombstone in an old graveyard stated “Here rests John Brown. That is all he ever did.” Another reads:

Here lies a man who did no good, Had many chances, but never he would.

Where he’s gone and how he fares, Nobody knows–and nobody cares.

 

Remember you used to care what you did and didn’t do for God? Has there been a retreat in your life from God’s service? That would be an identifying mark of a backslidden condition!

 

4. Putting people’s word ahead of God’s Word

Some have become more persuaded by the opinion and advice of others rather than the clear teaching of the Bible. I’d rather trust in what God says than in what the news says…or the History Channel!

 

I know of someone who gets her “theology” from the History Channel! Anytime something on Christ or the Bible is on that channel – I hear about it…and most every time what I hear is inaccurate and just not true! The History Channel DOES NOT correct the Bible! Their word cannot be placed above God’s Holy Word! Unfortunately today, the Bible is not read and studied consistently, and therefore many have a hard time discerning what they watch and what others say. For the Christian, that’s an identifying mark of a backslidden condition!

 

Now these are just some identifying marks of backsliding…but what causes the backsliding? Please forgive my repetition from my last post, but in a word – SIN! Sin is the #1 cause of backsliding. For the Christian, sin falls into 1 of 2 categories:

1. sins of omission – is not doing what we should do

2. sins of commission – is doing something we should not do

 

Let me just “throw out” to you some sins of omission:

-Not making a faithful commitment to church attendance

-Not reading your Bible

-Prayerlessness

-Choosing not to tithe and offer

-Declining to serve God

-Not giving forgiveness or making things right with someone when God tells you that you should

 

Now let me give you some sins of commission:

-Evil thinking

-Worldly attitude and rebellion

-Bitterness

-Self-centeredness

-Gossip

-Disobeying God’s Word

 

Sin will take you further than you want to go…

Sin will give you much more than you want to know…

 Sin will leave you longer than you want to stay…

Sin will cost you far more than you want to pay…

 

SIN – #1 cause of backsliding – makes you retreat from God – makes you backslide!

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Being Up Front on Backsliding

Posted by Pastor Szekely on April 25, 2008

The Return of the Prodigal Son by MurilloI want to write about something a person without the Lord Jesus Christ cannot do…and that is: a lost person cannot backslide…only a Christian can. In this post, I want to be up front on backsliding.

Proverbs 14:14 says, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” The word backslider in this verse has a negative ring to it…and it should! The word itself means to flinch; to retreat; to apostatize. It means a person has abandoned what they’ve professed. Someone once said to be a backslider is like having bad breath – most won’t tell you if you’ve got it…and if you know you have it, you wouldn’t admit it 🙂

 Consequently, every one of God’s children is susceptible to the condition of backsliding…

Leaders can backslide:

After King David sinned so grievously, he finally came to himself and prayed, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (Ps 51:12). He didn’t pray for his salvation to return, but he prayed for his joy in the Lord to return…he had slid away from God.

 

Young people can backslide:

The prodigal son [represented in the painting above] was still a son, even when he was away from his father…but when he returned to his father, fellowship was restored. BTW: Remember why this young man slid away from his father in the 1st place? He wanted to live an indulgent, sinful lifestyle!

 

Preachers can backslide:

Just remember what happened with the Apostle Peter when the Lord was brought before Caiaphas. The Bible says that Peter “followed afar off”…Peter warmed himself by the “devil’s fire”, keeping bad company and his distance from the Lord’s presence that soon resulted in him cursing and swearing.

 

Any one of God’s children can backslide:

Lot is a good example – He’s the “poster-boy” of backsliders! Lot digressed away from God and got closer and closer to the world…Now some may say, “Was Lot even a child of God…how could he be”?  Well in 2 Pet 2:7-8 when God was making a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, the Bible says, “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” If it wasn’t for what God had Peter write, every Baptist preacher would preach Lot into Hell! BTW: Do you know what we notice in the case with Lot? Backsliding is a slow leak, and not a blowout.

 

All of God’s children are susceptible to backsliding. Have YOU ever backslidden since you’ve been saved? How about right now? And if you’re not in a backslidden condition now, sadly you are susceptible to backslide at some point. You probably know the old saying, “When a person lies down with dogs, he’s likely to get up with fleas!”

 

Sounds gloomy, doesn’t it? Well, it’s gloomy when we know that the number one cause of backsliding is SIN. Sin makes you retreat from God. Sin takes you into apostacy. Sin causes you to flinch on doing what is right.

Sin will take you further than you want to go…

Sin will give you much more than you want to know…

 Sin will leave you longer than you want to stay…

Sin will cost you far more than you want to pay…

 Oh but child of God, there’s hope in the gloom! When you recognize you’ve retreated from where you once were with GOD, and when you realize the causes of your backsliding…

1. Confess your sin to God. We must come to ourselves like the prodigal and say to the Father, “I have sinned.” 1 Jn 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Prov 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”.

2. Forsake your sin before God. With God’s help, turn your back on that sin…and turn back to God! The prophet Hosea said in Hosea 6:1, “Come, and let us return unto the LORD.” Aren’t you ready to return unto God? Someone once said, “If you were ever closer to the Lord than you are right now – you’re backslidden“.

 

Remember: a backslider is one who has retreated from God and lost fellowship…but not salvation! Joy may have departed, but not the Holy Spirit.

 

IN MY NEXT POST: I want to IDENTIFY MARKS OF BACKSLIDING…stay tuned.

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Brief Bible Survey on Repentance

Posted by Pastor Szekely on February 5, 2008

Mark 1:14-15, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

From what we read here in Mark’s account of the Gospel, the first command of the Lord’s public ministry was to REPENT! By the very Word of the Lord Jesus Christ we see that repentance is a Bible principle – it’s a Bible doctrine.

Repentance has been confused and misunderstood today, but that doesn’t change the role this doctrine plays in the way to salvation AND in a believer’s daily living. What is repentance? I believe it is made clear in the Bible, and before we can know what repentance IS, we first should look at what repentance IS NOT.

WHAT REPENTANCE IS NOT

#1: Repentance IS NOT the world’s regret and remorse!

2 Cor 7:9-10, “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”

Sorry I got caught” is not Biblical repentance. “Sorry I got caught…but I’ll do it again if I can get away with it” is sorrow of the world! Also, just being sorrowful over something done does not mean Biblical repentance. Remember Judas Iscariot? He regretted his actions [Matt 27:3-5], but he didn’t turn to God!

#2: Repentance IS NOT reformation!

Cleaning up your outside IS NOT a ‘suitable substitute’ for having God clean up your inside! When I think on reformation, I think back to the Pharisees…those ones who were the Jewish religious rulers. On the outside, they had the appearance of being clean and holy; but on the inside, there was a fact of being “dead in trespasses and sins” [see Matt 23:27]

You see, drunkards may stop drinking; wife-beaters may cease from their violence; thieves may become honest citizens; harlots may turn from a life of disgrace; but this in itself IS NOT Biblical repentance. Why not? Because if the change is just an outward cleanup brought about by man via religious exercises, “stepped programs”, or by “discovering the champion within”, that’s reformation; BUT, if the change happens from the inside-out and it’s brought about by God and His Word, that’s repentance. Great example = The Pharisees.

#3: Repentance IS NOT religion!

Just because a person says they believe in God, they’ve been baptized, or they repeated ‘the sinner’s prayer’, DOESN’T MEAN they’ve repented of sin!

This is what repentance IS NOT. So…what IS repentance? How can the term be defined? We will answer the question and define the term by the Bible.

WHAT REPENTANCE IS

Exodus 13:17, “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt”

Why didn’t God lead Israel through the way of the land of the Philistines? They would have turned back to Egypt at the threat of war! It would have changed their mind which would have changed their action! We can say from what we read here [so far] that repentance is defined as a change of heart that results in a turning.

Jeremiah 8:6, “I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.”

From this verse in Jeremiah, we can say that repentance is an acknowledging and a turning from sin.

Ezekiel 14:6, “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.”

God is defining repentance as turning from sinful idolatry and abomination. Do you think God would have been satisfied if they had just changed their minds without changing their action?

Ezekiel 18:30, “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.”

Again, God is defining repentance as turning from sin and idols.

Jonah 3:5-8, “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. (vs6) For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. (vs7) And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: [vs8] But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.”

Now the word repentance is not used here in this passage [but turn is]…and in Matt 12:41, Jesus said they repented! Here are the Words of Christ: “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” [vs14 – emphasis added]. Here’s the point: The people’s repentance was witnessed in their actions! This is very important: True repentance is always observable by a change in a person’s manner of living!

Matt 3:1,8, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea…Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance”

The Baptist demanded ‘fruits meet for repentance’…he wanted to see some evidence of repentance before he’d baptize them! And BTW: Is it wrong to have some sort of “probation time” for ones wanting to join a church? Should there be fruits, or evidences, that show forth a repented and reconciled life? In the era and fervor of success-driven attendance-building, this principle has been forgotten.

Matt 11:20-21, “Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: (vs21) Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

Jesus was saying that repentance was a dramatic change in one’s attitude and action due to the witness of God’s Work and Word. It is the conviction of being wrong before God that God works in man that can bring man to a conversion of right. Chorazin and Bethsaida rejected that conviction of being wrong before God, and therefore, they did not repent.

Matt 21:28-29, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. (vs29) He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.”

Did you notice that the son’s repentance was witnessed by his change of mind AND by his obedience? Just a change of mind without a change of action wouldn’t have satisfied the father’s command.

Luke 19:1-2, 8-9, “And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. (vs2) And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. [vs8] And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. (vs9) And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.”

Zacchaeus’ repentance was a change of mind that resulted in a dramatic change of life! Now let’s follow this definition for a moment:

1 Thess 1:9-10, “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; (vs10) And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

Repentance resulted in a dramatic change of life in the Thessalonians…they turned to God from idols!

Revelation 2:5, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

We see that repentance involves turning from actions that are wrong to doing actions that are right! There’s a dramatic change in a person’s life!

Rev 2:21, “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” Rev 16:9-11, “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. (vs10) And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, (vs11) And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”

 In both instances, in both passages of Scripture, they will not repent of their deeds. They will not repent because they refuse to turn from their evil doings.

CONCLUSION 

So from all that we’ve gone through in our survey of Scripture, we can Biblically define repentance as 1) a turning to God from sin, 2) having a change of mind about sin, 3) that always results in a change of action!

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