Know Your Bible

VOL. 8                           July 12, 2009                           NO. 25

                             Can There Be True Satisfaction In Sin?

 

            Perhaps the greatest victory that Satan has ever won is how he has convinced mankind that sin is enjoyable and pleasurable. Human beings freely engage in all kinds of activities that will lead them nowhere, at least in spiritual terms -- the quest for money, the quest for satisfaction of the desires of the flesh, and other such things, and yet how many have really thought about where all these really lead? Let us ask: can there be true satisfaction in these endeavors?

 

    Money. While America may not have an "official" religion, the worship of the "Almighty Dollar" is offered throughout our land at all times. While having a job and supporting yourself financially is perfectly acceptable and in fact commanded (2 Thess. 3:7-12), we are to see money as a means to an end, not the end itself. Yet how many people do we know that are entirely consumed by the desire for more money and more things? Paul rightly speaks of the love of money as the root of all kinds of evil, and how those who desire pierce themselves with great suffering (1 Tim. 6:10).

 

            After all, what happens if you have a dream to have so much money and then reach it? What happens next? More money is desired. You can never have enough-- the more you get, the more you want.

 

            Many people who would read this would think to themselves how that is not true of them: if they had just a little bit more, they'd be satisfied. Well, we can see the example of many people who have won the lottery and yet go bankrupt after a few years. Why? Because they were consumed with the love of the money they had. They went out and bought all the things they had always wanted, and it was not enough. It was never enough. Satisfaction is never be found in money.

 

Sex. Many people believe that the physical satisfaction they receive from sex will make them happy. Many people will engage in sexual relationships to try to make them feel better about themselves, to feel more whole, or to feel strong and attractive. Yet, just as with money, the satisfaction of the sexual desire leads to a need to continually gain satisfaction through sex, and suddenly it is no longer about feeling whole but about feeding a desire.

 

            God designed humans to have sexual desires and provided the proper place and purpose for the sexual desire: to cement the bond between a man and his wife (Genesis 2:24). Trying to use sex to make one feel better or more whole is to mistake the purpose of sex.

 

Drugs and Alcohol. Drugs and alcohol, to some people, are the types of things you do in order to "have a good time" with other people. Drugs and alcohol, however, often become a means of escape for people who do not want to face the life they are currently living. They feel better about themselves when they are high or drunk, and feel as if they are more liked when high or drunk.

 

            When drugs and alcohol are not about escaping, they are about addiction. People get on drugs and alcohol and continue to use them while aware of the death that looms as the result-- why? It makes no good sense. They continue to use them because they are addicted, feel hopeless, or enjoy the escape.

 

            We will never find true satisfaction in these physical desires because they do not address our soul. They do not make us feel "whole". We can only feel whole when we cast off the burden of our sin and walk in love according to the will of God. Let us no longer be deceived by sin (Hebrews 3:13)! Jesus said, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst," (John 6:35).                                

 

                                                                                                                                                                ---Ethan R. Longhenry

 

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Can Churches Heal America?

 

            A few years ago the cover to a 1996 edition of U.S. News caught my attention. It asked, "Can Churches Cure America's Social Ills?" Hmm.

 

            Now, as a Christian my chief allegiance is to God's holy nation of which I am a citizen (1 Pet. 2:9; Phil. 3:20); but since America is where I reside currently, I want to see it do well for ...if it has peace, I have peace (Jer. 29:7). As I pondered the question, I thought of things churches need to do if they hope to have an impact.

 

            Churches must call people back to the Book. It's what America needs more than anything else. Just this morning, my "check engine" light came on and I didn't know what to do. Obviously, I knew to check the engine, but where do I start? I immediately reached into the glove compartment for the owner's manual and found what I needed to know. Friend, your Bible is the Owner's manual given by the One who made us and knows what's best for us. No matter how broken life becomes, the Bible can fix it. In it, we have all we need (2 Tim. 3:16,17). Why would people ignore a book that is so good for us?

 

            Too many people don't want to be accountable to God and thus they reason Him away and deny the Bible as His Word. Someone said, "The atheist cannot find God for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman." he doesn't want to. America is not the first nation to push God aside. Jehoiakim, king of Judah, took God's Word; cut it up with a knife and threw it into the fire (Jer. 36:23). It didn't work. Try as we may to push the Word of the living God out of our lives, it still lives and abides forever (1 Pet. 1:22-25). Like an anvil that wears out the hammers, God's Word outlasts all its skeptics. Oh, how we need this Book! It is our nation's hope.

 

            Churches must remember their mission. People long before us saw the mission of the church very simply. God's Word was highlighted above all. Some have even said that when preachers spoke you could "feel the heat." How do people see churches now? Have we grown so accustomed to churches offering recreational centers, cafeterias, gyms and the like, that we are impressed with the need of the physical or the spiritual?

 

            Jesus faced that problem. People came in hoards wanting physical food. When He made it clear that His mission was to providespiritual food, many walked away (Jn. 6:26,27, 66-68). A few in the religious world have been willing to admit that without the physical attractions their numbers would be drastically reduced. Jesus didn't worry about that. He sadly let them walk away. In fact, if you'll notice, every time crowds began to build, Jesus' teaching became even more challenging (Lk. 14:25ff). He wanted those who wanted Him. That's it. The mission of the church is to preach the truth, period (1 Tim. 3:15). Many years ago, a French statesman, Alexis De Tocqueville (1805-1859) came to America trying to find the secret of its greatness. What he found is interesting. I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers -- and it was not there...in her fertile fields and boundless forests -- and it was not there...in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution -- and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.

 

            Local churches must remember their mission. Preaching is growing weaker in too many places. Preachers must call sin, sin (Jn. 8:31) for, after all, faith comes by hearing God's Word (Rom. 10:17). Without it, America will be faithless.

 

            Churches must encourage attention to home and family. Too many homes hardly have anyone home. Dads provide (1 Tim. 5:8) but they can be gone too much in their pursuit of climbing the ladder of success. Moms need to focus their minds on being keepers at home (Titus 2:4,5). Even kids can be away from home too much. We must spend time together.

 

            I'll never forget Bro. Connie Adams telling of a yard sale at his parent's home. Reluctantly, they decided to sell the family table around which he had sat all of his growing years. There were so many good memories. For most of the day, it had not sold. Inwardly, Connie was glad. Then...a buyer came, loaded it up and drove away. Connie said as he saw it go away, he cried. I understand. How many families today would have such sentimental thoughts about their table? We need to come home and build our homes on Christ (Matt. 7:24-27).

 

            Churches must teach members to deny worldliness (Rom. 2:17-24; Matt. 5:13-16). If we, one-by-one, will let the Lord put our lives together, the world will fall into place. If you want to heal America, start with you. May God bless our land.              

---Jeff May


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