Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                           April 17, 2011                           NO. 15

 For "MATURE" Audiences
 
     Sometime ago I was listening to a radio station as they advertised for a video rental establishment in a nearby town. Expounding upon the wide selection of viewing material available they listed films for the entire family -- drama, comedies, horror pictures -- as well as films for the more "mature." Both you and I know what they mean by "mature' films. It has become the euphemism for "pornography" and "smut."
 
     Speaking for myself (and hopefully all of you), I resent the use of the term "mature" in such a context. I like to think of myself as mature but may God forbid that I should ever be enslaved to such ungodly entertainment. I don't want my children to grow up thinking that "mature" people watch such trash. If the world insists upon promoting such filth, why don't they call it what it really is and stop trying to deceive by using a good term to describe something so godless?
 
     Paul wrote in Eph. 4:11-13, "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ." Somehow I find it hard to believe that Paul's concept of the "mature" man was one who spent his Saturday nights watching porn.
 
     To say the least, there are different types of maturity: physical, emotional, spiritual, and even sexual. Though one may be "mature" in one area in no way proves he has reached that stage in others. No type of maturity, however, should be thought to include video garbage and sexual promiscuity! The watching and reading of such material can only result in the destruction of one's spirituality. A few passages and their implications are in order.
 
     "You have heard it was said, 'you shall not commit adultery'; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 5:27,28). Is it not true that such movies are designed to create lust? Lust is sin!
 
     "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things" (Phil. 4:8). How can one follow Paul's encouragement and, at the same time, permit in his home such ungodly films of the type mentioned?
 
     My beloved, do not let down your guard! Satan is doing a good job destroying the moral fabric of our society a step at a time. We must keep our homes as fortresses of purity and chastity against every form of ungodliness. Remember, "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Heb. 13:4).
 
     My hope and prayer is that someday all of my children will truly be "mature" in every area of life. But may God deliver them from the world's standard of "maturity." Think on these things.
--- Jim Deason
 
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Godliness In Adversity
 
     Godly and ungodly men differ in the way they view adversity: one draws near to God and the other rejects Him.
 
     Nothing so clearly distinguishes true godliness from pseudo-godliness like adversity. Those who are ungodly see every disaster as an excuse for rejecting God. In Revelation, when bowls of wrath were poured out, ungodly "men blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory" (Rev. 16:9). By contrast, those who are godly find that "tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance, character; and character hope" (Rom. 5:3,4). 
           Interestingly enough, mere observation of the suffering of others is enough to destroy the faith of some. It was so with Job's wife. Seeing Job's affliction she advised, "Curse God and die." But the reply of godly Job was, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" Then it is added: "In all of this Job did not sin with his lips" (Job 2:9,10).
 
     For quite a long while, the hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness has been a favorite of mine: 
                     Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, 
                     There is no shadow of turning with Thee; 
                     Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not; 
                     As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be. 
                     Great is Thy faithfulness...
                     Morning by morning new mercies I see.
 
     One might suppose that such sentiments originated with one who was enjoying the happiest of times. In fact, they are based on the writings of Jeremiah as he wept over the destruction of his beloved Jerusalem. He had pleaded with the people to repent in order to avert the calamity, but they refused. Now he laments the sad consequences of their failure, but sees God's faithfulness in keeping His promises and His compassion in preserving a remnant of His people.
 
                     "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, 
                     Because His compassions fail not. 
                     They are new every morning; 
                     Great is Your faithfulness
" (Lam. 3:22,23).
 
Adversity Is A Test Of Our Godliness: -- When we face calamities we can determine whether our godliness is genuine or not by whether we turn to God or turn from God. When we are rebuked and are made sorry, our response reveals whether our sorrow is the godly sorrow that works repentance or the sorrow of the world that works death (2 Cor. 7:10)
 
"Now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:6-8).
 
     In his book, The Case For Faith, Lee Strobel reports an interview with Charles Templeton, a former colleague of Billy Graham. Templeton claims to have lost his faith as result of a picture in Life magazine. "It was a picture of a black woman in Africa," he explained. "They were experiencing a devastating drought. And she was holding her dead baby in her arms and looking up to heaven with the most forlorn expression. I looked at it and I thought 'Is it possible to believe that there is a loving or caring Creator when all this woman needed was rain?'" Templeton, living in luxury, lost his faith because of the suffering of someone in Africa. Interviewing the African woman might well have revealed that her faith in God was stronger than it had ever been.
 
     Strobel quotes Scottish theologian James S. Stewart in this connection: "It is the spectators, the people who are outside, looking at the tragedy, from whose ranks the skeptics come; it is not those who are actually in the arena and who know the suffering from the inside. Indeed, the fact is that it is the world's greatest sufferers who have produced the most shining examples of unconquerable faith."
 
Recent Events: -- The tsunami in Asia, recent hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, and the earthquake in Pakistan have been offered as reasons to deny the existence of God. Often such objections come form unaffected individuals and organizations that have done almost nothing to relieve the suffering caused in those disasters, while believers in God have rushed to the assistance of those in need.
 
     Letters and comments from godly souls affected by the storms often expressed an increased faith and are reminiscent of Psa. 77:1, "I cried out to God with my voice--to God with my voice; and He gave ear to me." They can say with David, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes" (Psa. 119:71). In the aftermath the love shown by Christians elsewhere has "not only {supplied} the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God" (2 Cor. 9:12).
 
---Sewell Hall
 
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