Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                           June 13, 2011                           NO. 23

 "Mixed Swimming"
     Mixed swimming might more honestly and more appropriately be termed "mixed nudity." How else can we be consistent and morally honest with our Biblical heritage of holiness? Popularity of and acceptance of mixed swimming notwithstanding, it is wicked, morally indefensible, and behavior that ought not to be named among true believers.
     Christians of previous generations were aflame with zeal and desire to live holy lives. May I say they would be scandalized in the extreme were they to see present day “Christians” shamelessly cavorting around in modern swim wear, unblushingly exposing major portions of their bodies for all who wish to see. May I submit we have become desensitized to sin and have adopted the ways of the heathen!
Defining Acceptability: The Occasion or The Principle?
     To put this in perspective, imagine dear brother, if your wife and/or your  daughter are in the privacy of their bedrooms clad only in the most intimate of foundation garments. Would you invite them thus to meet your male friends? If you would invite them, would they allow themselves to be viewed by masculine eyes in such a scantily clad condition?
     Hopefully, you are offended and horrified by even the thought of such a suggestion. And, hopefully, your wife and daughter would be similarly scandalized at such a compromise of their privacy and modesty.
     Or, would you, sir, cavort around the living room in your underwear as your wife is hosting a ladies' tea?
     Sadly, many “Christians” would only be ashamed at the type of garment in a wrong setting, not at the exposure of their nakedness. The same woman who would rather die than expose herself to the eyes of men while in her foundation garments, will thoughtlessly and shamelessly expose herself simply because she is wearing what is called swim wear. Dearly beloved, the sin and scandal is not in wearing inappropriate garments on wrong social occasions, but in the nakedness itself!
Nakedness is Shameful

     Scripture is universal in its condemnation of nakedness as being "shameful" (Ex. 32:25; Rev. 3:18; 16:15). Even priests were cautioned about their clothing and carriage so no one could view their thighs. And, because God is clear that "the eyes of man are never satisfied" (Prov. 27:20), we recognize it is our vision that is the primary gateway of incipient sexual arousal. Job affirmed this principle: "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?" (Job 31:1). The man who says that the nakedness of women does not bother him is either too young, a pervert, a liar, or dead! Pornographers understand the insatiability of this voyeuristic principle in a lot of men and crassly utilize this weakness against them to enrich themselves.
     The only difference in a man visiting a pornographic web site and pornographic store as opposed to viewing scantily clad women in swim wear is that in the latter case he does not have to purchase his viewing.
     Though women in swim wear do at least cover some areas of their bodies, this is small consolation as they are still sufficiently naked as to be the object of lustful gazing from any man who wishes to titillate his lustful fantasies.

---Ronald Williams
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How Men Act When They Repent

     In Matthew 12:41, Jesus said, "The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here." According to Jesus, the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah.
     You remember the story, don't you? God had commanded Jonah, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me" (Jonah 1:2). Now Nineveh was not only a city filled with wickedness, it was also the capital of the Assyrians, hated enemies of the Israelites. Jonah didn't want to go.  He fled from God's presence. However, after being given some quality time in the belly of a fish to reflect and pray, Jonah decided to obey God.  Jonah walked through the city proclaiming the judgment of the Lord upon these pagan people: "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" (Jonah 3:4).
     The people of Nineveh repented. They "proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them" (Jonah 3:5). When word came to the king of Nineveh, "he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes." He decreed that "neither man nor beast, herd nor flock" were to eat or drink and that "every one" was to "turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hand" (Jonah 3:7-8).
     The text says that, "God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them" (Jonah 3:10). God can read men's hearts. He knows more about what is going on in our heads than we do ourselves. But He did not need to read the minds of the Ninevites to know that they had repented.  He "saw their works, that they turned away from evil". When the men of Nineveh repented, nobody was left to wonder whether or not their repentance was genuine. Nobody was left guessing about their intention to stop committing evil. Nobody would have doubted they had actually repented of their sins.
     We really need to learn this lesson from the men of Nineveh. We need to learn how to act when we repent. Repentance isn't just saying "excuse me," "my bad," or "forgive me," and then going on with our lives as if nothing happened. Repentance should produce real change in our actions. We are to "bear fruits worthy of repentance" (Matthew 3:8). I am afraid that too many of us think that our repentance should go unnoticed. We are incognito repenters!  And while God hardly asks us to don sackcloth and ashes today, He does ask us to "do works befitting repentance" (Acts 26:20).
     Let's resolve to turn away from sin in our lives, and make sure that we behave in such a way that folks can tell that's what we've done!
---Steve Klein
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Complaints About The Church
     We frequently hear complaints about the church. That’s nothing new. In fact, there were some folks complaining about the church in its very earliest days (see Acts 6:1-6). And, we know that some criticism is fully justified and is offered in a constructive way that will, hopefully, bring about needed changes.
     However, we feel that there is a troubling trend evidenced by the kind of criticism that is most often leveled against local congregations. Seldom, if ever, do we hear folks say things like: “I’m disturbed that this church is not more active in the realm of evangelism.” Or, “It really upsets me that we are not supporting more preachers.” And we never hear, “I just think we ought to have more gospel meetings.”
     What we do hear are things like: “I just don’t think this is a friendly church.” And, “There are just not enough social activities, especially for the young folks.” Or, “People here really don’t seem to care about each other.”
     Two observations need to be made. First, the church is not a social institution. While it is important for people to have social interaction, God placed all such responsibilities in the realm of the home, not the church (1 Corinthians 11:34). If your main concern is about social things, you need to come to a better understanding of the work and function of the Lord’s church.
     Second, those who level these charges should spend some time looking in the mirror. If there are problems - if there are areas that need improvement - what are YOU doing to bring about those changes?
     Complaints about the church are not new. Oftentimes they are needed and helpful. But, if you complain, be sure you’re willing to lend a hand to make the needed improvements. Let’s work together to make this church everything that God would have It to be.

---Greg Gwin
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