CLOTHING MATTERS

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3932 Dec 6, 2012
The Rebellion of Nudity and the Meaning of Clothing

by John Piper | Topic: Sexual Purity

The first consequence of Adam’s and Eve’s sin mentioned in Genesis 3:7 is that “the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”

Suddenly they are self-conscious about their bodies. Before their rebellion against God, there was no shame.“The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed”(Genesis 2:25). Now there is shame. Why?

There is no reason to think that it’s because they suddenly became ugly. Their beauty wasn’t the focus in Genesis 2:25, and their ugliness is not the focus here in Genesis 3:7. Why then the shame? Because the foundation of covenant-keeping love collapsed. And with it the sweet, all-trusting security of marriage disappeared forever.

The foundation of covenant-keeping love between a man and a woman is the unbroken covenant between them and God—God governing them for their good and they enjoying him in that security and relying on him. When they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that covenant was broken and the foundation of their own covenant-keeping collapsed.

They experienced this immediately in the corruption of their own covenant love for each other. It happened in two ways. Both relate to the experience of shame. In the first case, the one viewing my nakedness is no longer trustworthy, so I am afraid I will be shamed. In the second, I myself am no longer at peace with God, but I feel guilty and defiled and unworthy—I deserve to be shamed.

In the first case, I am self-conscious of my body, and I feel vulnerable to shame because I know Eve has chosen to be independent from God. She has made herself central in the place of God. She is essentially now a selfish person. From this day forward, she will put herself first. She is no longer a servant. So she is not safe. And I feel vulnerable around her, because she is very likely to put me down for her own sake. So suddenly my nakedness is precarious. I don’t trust her any more to love me with pure covenant-keeping love. That’s one source of my shame.

The other source is that Adam himself, not just his spouse, has broken covenant with God. If she is rebellious and selfish, and therefore unsafe, so am I. But the way I experience it in myself is that I feel defiled and guilty and unworthy. That’s, in fact, what I am. Before the Fall, what was and what ought to have been were the same. But now, what is and what ought to be are not the same.
CLOTHING MATTERS

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3933 Dec 6, 2012
I ought to be humbly and gladly submissive to God. But I am not. This huge gap between what I am and what I ought to be colors everything about me—including how I feel about my body. So my wife might be the safest person in the world, but now my own sense of guilt and unworthiness makes me feel vulnerable. The simple, open nakedness of innocence now feels inconsistent with the guilty person that I am. I feel ashamed.

So the shame of nakedness arises from two sources, and both of them are owing to the collapse of the foundation of covenant love in our relationship with God. One is that Eve is no longer reliable to cherish me; she has become selfish and I feel vulnerable that she will put me down for her own selfish ends. The other is that I already know that I am guilty myself, and the nakedness of innocence contradicts my unworthiness—I am ashamed of it.

Genesis 3:7 says that they tried to cope with this new situation by making clothing:“They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” Adam’s and Eve’s effort to clothe themselves was a sinful effort to conceal what had really happened. They tried to hide from God (Genesis 3:8). Their nakedness felt too revealing and too vulnerable. So they tried to close the gap between what they were and what they ought to be by covering what is, and presenting themselves in a new way.
So what does it mean that God clothed them with animal skins? Was he confirming their hypocrisy? Was he aiding and abetting their pretense? If they were naked and shame-free before the Fall, and if they put on clothes to minimize their shame after the Fall, then what is God doing by clothing them even better than they can clothe themselves? I think the answer is that he is giving a negative message and a positive message.
Negatively, he is saying, You are not what you were and you are not what you ought to be. The chasm between what you are and what you ought to be is huge. Covering yourself with clothing is a right response to this—not to conceal it, but to confess it. Henceforth, you shall wear clothing, not to conceal that you are not what you should be, but to confess that you are not what you should be.
CLOTHING MATTERS

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3934 Dec 6, 2012
One practical implication of this is that public nudity today is not a return to innocence but rebellion against moral reality. God ordains clothes to witness to the glory we have lost, and it is added rebellion to throw them off.

And for those who rebel in the other direction and make clothes themselves a means of power and prestige and attention getting, God’s answer is not a return to nudity but a return to simplicity (1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:4-5). Clothes are not meant to make people think about what is under them. Clothes are meant to direct attention to what is not under them: merciful hands that serve others in the name of Christ, beautiful feet that carry the gospel where it is needed, and the brightness of a face that has beheld the glory of Jesus.

Now we have already crossed over to the more positive meaning of clothing that God had in his mind when he clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins. This was not only a witness to the glory we lost and a confession that we are not what we should be, but it is also a testimony that God himself would one day make us what we should be. God rejected their own self-clothing. Then he did it himself. He showed mercy with superior clothing.

Together with the other hopeful signs in the context (like the defeat of the serpent in Genesis 3:15), God’s mercy points to the day when he will solve the problem of our shame decisively and permanently. He will do it with the blood of his own Son (as there apparently was blood shed in the killing of the animals of the skins). And he will do it with the clothing of righteousness and the radiance of his glory (Galatians 3:27; Philippians 3:21).

Which means that our clothes are a witness both to our past and present failure and to our future glory. They testify to the chasm between what we are and what we should be. And they testify to God’s merciful intention to bridge that chasm through Jesus Christ and his death for our sins.

©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.
CLOTHING MATTERS

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3935 Dec 6, 2012
When Unclothed Is Unfitting

by John Piper

Jonathan Edwards once said that godly people can, as it were, smell the depravity of an act before they can explain why it is evil. There is a spiritual sense that something is amiss. It does not fit in a world permeated with God. Ephesians 5:3 says that some things “are not fitting” among saints.”“Fitting-ness” is not always easy to justify with arguments. You discern it before you can defend it. That’s good, because we have to make hundreds of choices every day with no time for extended reflection.

But from time to time we need to pause and give rational, biblical expression why something is not fitting. Some years ago I came to that point when, week after week, a local newspaper put scantily clad women on the second page of Section A in order to sell underclothes. I wrote a letter to the paper with nine reasons why they should stop using this kind of advertising. Perhaps my reflections will help you deal with the hundreds of abuses of God’s good gift of sexuality in our culture. Here is what I wrote.

As a 14-year subscriber and reader of the [name of paper omitted], I am writing to express the persuasion that your sexually explicit ads that often turn up in Section A are increasingly offensive and socially irresponsible. I mean that the effectiveness of catching people’s attention by picturing a woman in her underclothes does not justify the ads. The detrimental effects of such mercenary misuse of the female body are not insignificant. The harm I have in mind is described in the following nine persuasions.

This woman could not go out in public dressed like that without being shamed or being mentally aberrant. Yet you thrust her out, even in front of those of us who feel shame for her.

This portrayal of a woman sitting in her underclothes at a table with a cup of tea disposes men to think of women not as persons but mainly in terms of their bodies. It stimulates young boys to dwell on unclothed women’s bodies and thus lames their ability to deal with women as dignified persons. I have four sons.

The ad stimulates sexual desire which in thousands of men has no legitimate or wholesome outlet through marriage. In other words, it feeds a corporate, community lust that bears no good fruit outside marriage, but in fact many ills.

The ad makes sensibilities callous so that fewer and fewer offenses against good taste feel unacceptable, which spells the collapse of precious and delicate aspects of personhood and relationships.
The ad makes thousands of women subconsciously measure their attractiveness and worth by the standard of rarefied, unrealistic models, leading to an unhealthy and discouraging preoccupation with outward looks.
The ad feeds the prurient fantasies of ordinary men, lodging a sexual image in their minds for the day which can rob them of the ability to think about things greater and nobler than skin.

The ad condones the proclivity of males to mentally unclothe women by reminding them what they would see if they did, and by suggesting that there are women who want to be publicly unclothed in this way. This reminder and this suggestion support habits and stereotypes that weaken personal virtue and jeopardize decorous relationships.

The ad encourages young girls to put excessive focus on their bodies and how they will be looked at, adding to the epidemic of depression and eating disorders.
The ad contributes to dissatisfaction in men whose wives can’t produce that body and thus adds to the instability of marriages and homes.

I realize that the bottom line is big bucks for page two, and lots of attention for [name of department store omitted]. But please know that at least one assessment of your standards of fitness for print is that it is part of a tragic loss of modesty and decency that may, for now, feel like mature liberation, but in generations to come will reap a whirlwind of misery for all of us.
happiness

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3936 Dec 6, 2012
Jesus challenges the self-mindset, declaring the blessed are:

Those that are poor in spirit
Those that mourn
Those that are meek
Those that are hungry
Those that are merciful
The pure in heart
The peacemakers

These are the ones who will find the happiness or contentment that they are looking for: such a challenging contrast to how we have been taught to live! It doesn’t make sense to the natural man, but remember – the Kingdom is spiritual!

Darrell Bock states:“There’s an emptiness in pursuing anything less than God’s call.” He further comments “Much of spirituality was influenced by American culture with its bent toward independence and self-fulfillment.” So true. much of North American Christendom preaches a materialistic, bless me, escapist gospel.

By declaring the blessedness of the Kingdom, Jesus was revealing that the cultures of the Kingdom and of the world are in opposition to each other. There is a constant pull of the world’s culture.

World’s culture –‘Seek your place in the world!’
God says,‘Seek the kingdom of God.’

World’s culture –‘find yourself!’
God says -‘lose yourself, and so find life.’

World’s culture –‘be your own self-made person!’
God says to become ‘members together of one body…’

World’s culture –‘look to your own needs and interests!’
God says to have ‘the attitude of Christ Jesus, who took on the nature of a servant.’

World’s culture promises,‘You can have it all!’
God says to ‘consider it rubbish, that we might gain Christ.’

World’s culture –‘Be at the top of your game!’
God says to ‘be crucified with Christ.’

Jesus came preaching a Kingdom lifestyle that was radically different from this world. Entrance to this kingdom requires repentance: a change of our beliefs and values that are demonstrated by our life’s actions. This Kingdom promises to meet our deepest desire – a blessed life. When we walk out this Kingdom lifestyle of being blessed, we become attractive to those we come into contact with.

Next Note we break down the spiritual characteristics that produce this blessed life. Looking forward to your comments.

———–

Dr Martin lives in St Louis MO, with his wife Ava and their dog Zoe. His ministry focus is the principles of Kingdom Authority that empower believers to use their spiritual gifts, demonstrating the miraculous power of Jesus and his kingdom. The results: increased faith and the potential for greater revival and harvest. He is available to speak to your local assembly, organization or ministry. For more information, check us out here
manner

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3937 Dec 6, 2012
True repentance is hope-inspired and newness-creating.




“What manner of men?”

“... that He will again raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ [revival]. And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labor and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat. They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives.”

Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield (London, 1970), I:16.
church goers mistakes

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3938 Dec 6, 2012
If we go to church just to be with one another, one another is all we will get. And it isn’t enough. Eventually, our deepest unmet needs will explode in anger at one another. Putting community first destroys community. We must put Christ himself first and keep him first and treat him as first and come to him first and again and again. He can heal as no other can. Can, and will. If we come to him.
stopper

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3939 Dec 6, 2012
Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others . . . but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God 'sending us' to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE Hell unless it is nipped in the bud.
hell or heaven

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3940 Dec 6, 2012
Conclusion

The doctrine of hell is crucial-without it we can't understand our complete dependence on God, the character and danger of even the smallest sins, and the true scope of the costly love of Jesus. Nevertheless, it is possible to stress the doctrine of hell in unwise ways. Many, for fear of doctrinal compromise, want to put all the emphasis on God's active judgment, and none on the self-chosen character of hell. Ironically, as we have seen, this unBiblical imbalance often makes it less of a deterrent to non-believers rather than more of one. And some can preach hell in such a way that people reform their lives only out of a self-interested fear of avoiding consequences, not out of love and loyalty to the one who embraced and experienced hell in our place. The distinction between those two motives is all-important. The first creates a moralist, the second a born-again believer.

We must come to grips with the fact that Jesus said more about hell than Daniel, Isaiah, Paul, John, Peter put together. Before we dismiss this, we have to realize we are saying to Jesus, the pre-eminent teacher of love and grace in history, "I am less barbaric than you, Jesus--I am more compassionate and wiser than you." Surely that should give us pause! Indeed, upon reflection, it is because of the doctrine of judgment and hell that Jesus' proclamations of grace and love are so astounding.
hallowed

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3941 Dec 6, 2012
Treating God as Holy

The word "hallow" means sanctify. The same Greek word stands behind both English words. Jesus tells us to pray, "Let your name be sanctified." Sanctify can mean make holy or treat as holy. When God sanctifies us, it means that he makes us holy. But when we sanctify God, it means that we treat him as holy.

So Jesus is teaching us to pray that God would cause his name to be treated as holy. And our question becomes, what does it mean to treat God as holy? What are we asking God to do when we pray that he cause his name to be treated as holy?

Four Scriptures Which Speak of Treating God as Holy

To answer this question I found four other places in the Scriptures where this word "hallow" or "sanctify" or "treat as holy" is used in relation to God. Each of these gives us an idea of what it means to hallow the name of God.

1. Numbers 20:12

Numbers 20:12. During the wilderness wandering of the people of Israel, there was a time when they had no water. And the people grumbled against Moses. But God tells Moses to speak to the rock and to bring forth water for the people. But Moses' spirit is bitter, and he speaks rashly and strikes the rock twice with his rod.

The water comes, but so does the stinging word of God to Moses: "Because you did not believe in me, to sanctify me (or: hallow me) in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."

Notice the words: "You did not believe in me to sanctify (or: hallow) me." These words give us our first answer to the question, what it means to sanctify or hallow the name of God. It means to believe him. The first way to treat God as holy is to trust what he says. Instead of a peaceful confidence in the power of God to respond to a mere word, Moses was bitter and impulsive. God is not hallowed when we do not have a spirit of settled confidence and peace in his word.

John said, "He who does not believe God has made him a liar" (1 John 5:10). When you make somebody a liar, you profane that person's name. This is the opposite of treating the person as holy. Not trusting God is the exact opposite of hallowing his name. The first thing we mean, then, when we pray for God to cause his name to be hallowed is that he would cause people to believe him. "Hallowed be thy name" means "Trusted be your word."

2. Isaiah 8:12–13

A second text that explains what it means to hallow the name of God is Isaiah 8:12–13 (cf. 1 Peter 3:14–15). God speaks to Isaiah and warns him not to be like the people of Israel. "Do not call conspiracy all that this people call conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy (or: hallow); let him be your fear, let him be your dread."

How do you hallow God according to this text? You hallow him by not fearing what men fear but fearing God. Very practically it means that when God commands you to take your stand for him in a hostile situation, you fear displeasing God more than you fear the hostility of man.
hallowed

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3942 Dec 6, 2012
Don't fear losing your house or your wife or your children or your bank account or your prestige! Instead, fear the prospect of saying no to God. He will compensate you for all your worldly losses when you obey him. But when you set yourself to oppose his will, no one can compensate for the eternal consequences of that.

So when we pray, "Hallowed be thy name," we mean, "Father, let your name be feared." Or, more fully, "Father, cause people to have such a high view of you that it is a much more dreadful thing to lose your approval than to lose anything the world can offer."

3. Leviticus 22:31–32
The third text that sheds light on what it means to hallow God's name is Leviticus 22:31–32. "So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the Lord. And you shall not profane my holy name, but I will be hallowed among the people of Israel; I am the Lord who sanctify you."

We hallow the name of God when we keep his commandments. We profane the name of God when we break his commandments. So when we pray, "Father, let your name be hallowed," we mean, "Father, cause your commandments to be obeyed." "Hallowed be thy name" means "Obeyed be your commandments."

4. Leviticus 10:3
A final text to illustrate the meaning of hallowing God's name is Leviticus 10:3. "Moses said to Aaron,'This is what the Lord has said, I will show myself holy among those who are near me, and before all the people I will be glorified.'"
This text seems to say that God's showing himself holy and his being glorified are virtually the same thing. So when we pray, "Hallowed be thy name," we mean also, "Glorified be thy name."

Let's sum up what we've seen so far. "Hallowed be thy name" is a request, not a declaration. We are not saying, "Lord, your name is hallowed!" We are saying, "Lord, cause your name to be hallowed!" That is, cause your word to be believed, cause your displeasure to be feared, cause your commandments to be obeyed, and cause yourself to be glorified. You hallow the name of God when you trust him, revere him, obey him, and glorify him.
hallowed

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3943 Dec 6, 2012
For Whom Are We Praying?
So the big question remaining is, For whom are we praying when we pray, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name"? Whose heart are we asking God to change when we pray, "Father, cause their heart to believe you and fear you and obey you and glorify you"? If we take our clue from the next two requests in the Lord's prayer, I think we will hear two answers.
Ourselves and the Unreached Peoples of Earth
One answer is that we are praying for ourselves. The other answer is that we are praying for the spread of the gospel to the unreached peoples of the earth.
After teaching us to pray that God's name be hallowed, Jesus teaches us to pray, "God's kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Each of these requests has a personal and a worldwide dimension.
The Personal Dimension
For example in Matthew 6:33 Jesus commands us to seek God's kingdom first rather than seeking food and clothing. In other words, we are to seek to let God be the Ruler and King in our lives now. His kingdom is a present reality wherever he rules as King.(See Matthew 12:28.)
So when we pray, "Father, let your kingdom come," we should mean, "Father, rule in my life. Be my king. Get the victory over my anxiety about life's necessities." This is the personal dimension of the coming of the kingdom.
hallowed

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3944 Dec 6, 2012
The Worldwide Dimension

But just as important as the personal dimension is the worldwide dimension. Jesus said to his disciples at the Last Supper (in Luke 22:18), "From now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." In other words the coming of the kingdom is not only a present spiritual experience but also a future historical event. It refers to the time when the King will come in glory with his angels in flaming fire and gather his elect from the four winds and establish his kingdom on the earth.

Jesus described it in Matthew 13:41–43, "The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

So when we pray, "Thy kingdom come," we are asking God to draw history to a close and establish his kingdom on the earth. And who will be a part of this kingdom? Listen to the glimpse of it which John describes in Revelation 5:9–10, "Worthy art thou (Lord Jesus) to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth."

When the kingdom comes that we are praying for in the Lord's prayer it will be composed of ransomed people that Christ has redeemed from every tribe and tongue and people and nation on the earth. Therefore, when we pray, "Thy kingdom come," we are praying that God would extend his mighty arm to complete the purpose of world missions—namely, the in-gathering of the redeemed from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

So the answer to the question, For whom are we praying when we pray, "Hallowed be thy name," is plain. We are praying not only for ourselves, but also for the unreached tribes and tongues and peoples and nations of the world. God's purpose is to be hallowed: believed and feared and obeyed and glorified by the ransomed in all the people groups of the earth.

"Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It Is in Heaven"

The same thing turns up when we focus on the third request in the Lord's prayer: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

On the personal level that must mean, "Father, please cause me to obey your will the way the angels obey it in heaven.(Psalm 103:21, "Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!") Help me to do your will flawlessly and to do it with the same fervency and undivided devotion that they have. Make my obedience a heavenly obedience."
hallowed

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3945 Dec 6, 2012
But on the worldwide level the meaning is far greater. In heaven there is nothing but obedience to the will of God. So when we pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," we are praying that the earth would be filled only with people who do the will of God the way the angels do it in heaven.
In other words, we are praying for the kingdom to come. We are praying that the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). We are praying that the cause of world missions would so prosper in our day that all the ransomed from every tribe and tongue and people and nation would be reached and gathered in, and the King would come. For whom are we praying when we pray, "Hallowed by thy name"? For the unreached peoples of the earth and for ourselves that God would use us to reach them.

Three Implications

Let me close with three brief implications for us.
1. Make God's Top Priority Your Top Priority
First, since the first three petitions of the Lord's prayer give us the priority of Christ's heart, we should learn that God's top priority is the hallowing of his name in all the earth. If this is God's top priority, it should be our top priority—that God be believed, feared, obeyed, and glorified by a ransomed people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. The consummation of all our joy in God will be attained when his name is hallowed in all the earth.
hallowed

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3946 Dec 6, 2012
2. Pray Those Priorities into Reality
Second, we learn that prayer is the root of true mission advance. Jesus teaches us his priorities in the form of a prayer because he intends us to pray those priorities into reality. If the kingdom comes in our lifetime, it will be because the church of Jesus Christ around the world has begun to take seriously the Lord's Prayer. It will be because we have recognized that the prayers, "Hallowed be thy name," and, "Send forth laborers into your harvest," are the same prayer, and are the direct command of the Lord Jesus. If 90 by 90 becomes a reality at Bethlehem it will be because it is supported by a movement of concerted prayer, whose hallmark is, "Hallowed be thy name in all the earth!"

3. Seek to Let This Prayer Be Answered in Your Life
The final implication emerges when we consider that the evangelization of the world is not yet done. God's purpose to call out a ransomed bride from every tribe and tongue and people and nation is not yet fulfilled.
Next Friday and Sunday Ralph Winter will be with us to talk about the dawning of the final era in world evangelization. He speaks in terms of 17,000 people groups in the world that are unreached. These are groups distinct enough in culture that they cannot be reached by near neighbor evangelism, and have to be reached by cross cultural missionaries.
But suppose you are a real skeptic about these numbers. Just consider the more conservative statistics of the World Christian Encyclopedia of 1980. It says there are 432 major ethnolinguistic groups in the world. Of these 81 (19%) have populations in which fewer than 1% claim any association with Christianity at all. These 81 groups make up 1.7 billion people—about a third of the world's population.

Of these 81 groups, 43 are listed in the encyclopedia with 0.00% Christians. They speak 220 languages, only 54 of which have any written Scriptures. So even if you view the world in terms of 432 large ethnolinguistic groups instead of 20,000 people groups, the commission of our Lord and the purpose of his prayer are not yet finished.
From which I draw out this charge for our church. If we aim to be obedient to the Lord, we must seek to let his prayer be answered in our own lives. We must hallow his name more deeply. We must believe and fear and obey and glorify his name with new intensity. We must be willing ourselves to go wherever he may lead us. We must simplify our lives to free time and money for the last decades of the war effort. We must labor to make Bethlehem a boot camp and a base of operations and a recruitment center. And we must be so captivated by the love and majesty of God that no joy is more powerful in us than the joy of counting everything as loss for the sake of Christ.
©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.
dey

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3947 Dec 7, 2012
THE DAY

(Matthew 12:36,37)
G.A. Canfield

Jesus said that men shall give account of every idle word they speak. "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt 12:37) The wise man said, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (Eccl 12:13).

He gave the reason and we quote: "For God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing whether it be good or whether it be evil." Jesus said all that are in the grave shall hear his voice and come forth. They that have done good unto the resurrection of life and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.

We should all be very careful how we live in this world for we will see it again. I used to say a man had to do one thing for himself, but I have learned he has to do three things for himself: die for himself, go before the judgment seat of Christ, and spend eternity for himself in Heaven or Hell.(John 5:28,29)

This is sure. Jesus says, "When the son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand but the goats on the left." (Matt 25:31-33) There will be a great disappointment on that day (Matt 7:22-23). There are many people doing lots of work in the name of religion, calling it a great work for the Lord, but it will not be accepted for it was not of faith (Rom 14:23). Faith comes by hearing the word of God.(Rom 10:17). John says if we abide in the doctrine of Christ, we have both God and Christ (2 Jno. 9). If we keep His commandments we are abiding in His doctrine.

We look over the paper after the big meetings are held at different places and we see a good many baptisms and restorations. Some of our people have what I call "tin heater religion." You can build a fire in a big tin heater and can hardly stay in the house for the heat. So it is, when a big preacher is there holding a big meeting.They attend good, but just as soon as the big preacher is gone, some of our people are gone until the next big meeting. That is what I call tin heater religion. Jesus said he that endureth until the end, the same shall be saved. So we see this tin heater religion will not do to depend on (Matt 24:13), Paul says, "But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Heb 3:6) "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev 22:14). So, if we do not keep His commandments, we do not have the promise of entering into that city of God.
singing melody

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3948 Dec 7, 2012
"SINGING AND MAKING MELODY IN YOUR HEART" vs.
PLAYING ON AN INSTRUMENT

by Johnny Elmore
__________

The religious leaders of Jesus' day were well aware that every religious practice must be authorized. They viewed it as a challenge to their authority when Jesus went into the temple and cast out the money changers, which it was. They said to Jesus: "By what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?" (Matt 21:23). Jesus promised to tell them where He got his authority if they would answer only one question: "The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?" (Matt 21:25). Now the questioners were trapped in a dilemma. If they said John's baptism was from heaven, that is, authorized of God, they knew that Jesus would ask them why they had not received it. On the other hand, if they said that John's baptism was from men, they feared the people, so they said, "We cannot tell" (Matt 21:27). They knew there were only two sources of authority for religious practices-- God or men. That is true with our religious practices. It is fatal to simply have the authority of men for religious practices, for Jesus said, "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up" (Matt 15:13).

SINGING--FROM HEAVEN OR OF MEN?

Is "singing and making melody in your heart" from heaven or of men? The way to determine the correct answer to that question is to appeal to the scriptures. It is easy to establish authority for singing, because we can read commands and examples of singing in connection with worship under the New Testament economy. Jesus and the disciples sang a hymn at the close of the Lord's Supper (Matt 26:30; Mark 14:26). Paul and Silas sang praises to God in prison (Acts 16:25). In connection with the worship of the church, Paul said, "I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (I Cor 14:15).

The apostle Paul commanded: "But be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Eph 5:18,19). Also: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Col 3:16). Other passages are James 5:13, Rom 15:9 and Heb 2:12.
singing melody

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3949 Dec 7, 2012
PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT--FROM HEAVEN OR OF MEN?

Is playing on an instrument in worship from heaven or of men? To ask that question is to answer it, because it must be obvious to all that there is no biblical authority for the use of instruments of music in worship under the New Testament economy. There is no command to play on an instrument, no example of anyone doing it in Christian worship, and no place where it may be necessarily inferred that instruments of music were used in worship. Yet the apostle Paul commanded, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father "by him" (Col 3:17). "In the name of" means "by the authority of." When the sheriff bangs on a door, and says, "Open up in the name of the law," he means "by the authority of the law." Our worship to God, as well as other religious activity, must be authorized by God. It is not enough for people to say, "Oh, I like instrumental music!" What we like does not necessarily meet the approval of God. The question we should be asking about instrumental music is: "Has God authorized it?" If the question is answered affirmatively, I ask: "Where has God authorized it?" It is obvious that God has not authorized it in the New Testament.

THE OLD TESTAMENT

Sometimes people acknowledge that there is no New Testament authority for instrumental music, but cite various passages in the Old Testament in which instrumental music was used, apparently with God's approval. But surely we recognize that the Old Testament is not our authority. It was nailed to the cross (Col 2:14), and "we are delivered from the law," (Rom 7:6). Yes, Psalms is included in the law, for Jesus said, "Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods?" (John 10:34). The only place you will find that quotation is in Psalms 82:6, so Jesus identified Psalms as part of the law. If the law is our authority, then it opens the door for many practices, including infant membership, burning of incense, animal sacrifices and polygamy.
singing melody

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3950 Dec 7, 2012
But some argue, "Why did God change his mind?" We might ask, "Why did God change his mind about infant membership, incense, and polygamy? I don't profess to know the answer to that question, but I do know that the Old Testament is not our authority for New Testament worship. I want a religious practice that IS approved, not one that USED TO BE approved.

OTHER ARGUMENTS

Recently, it has been argued that there is no authority for congregational singing and that all of the passages which mention singing in the New Testament involves individual singing. I submit that even if that were true, it would not authorize and justify instrumental music in worship. Those who make such an argument practice congregational singing, therefore, they are condemned by their own practice.

A little consideration of Col 3:16 and Eph 5:19 will show that the command to sing involves reciprocal action. Eph 5:19 commands "speaking to yourselves"- reciprocal action. Col 3:16 commands "teaching and admonishing one another," so this is not solo singing or simply individual singing- it is something we are to do to each other. There is no validity to the contention that all the passages in the New Testament on singing refer to individual singing.
It is also argued that the Greek term for "make melody" in the original text means to sing to the accompaniment of a harp. Some who know only enough about lexicons to be dangerous have looked up the original word and noticed "harp" in its ancient etymology and have jumped to the conclusion that the etymology is the meaning. But the etymology of a word is not its meaning. James D. Bales gives an example showing that the word "lyric" once meant "adapted to the lyre or harp," but that is not its did not think it meant "sing to accompaniment," because they rendered it "make melody," as did the 47 scholars of the KJV.

There is no New Testament authority for playing on an instrument in worship. We cannot "speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where it is silent" and use instrumental music. We cannot "walk by the same rule" and "mind the same thing" if we refuse to be governed by the authority of the New Testament.
__________
Christ return

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#3951 Dec 9, 2012
Bible Scholar: The NEW Date for Christ's Return

3:30PM EST 12/3/2012 Troy Anderson

F.-Kenton-“Doc”-Beshore F. Kenton “Doc” Beshore
Why one Bible scholar is arguing that Hal Lindsey’s famous prediction for Christ’s return wasn’t so wrong
It’s one of the most controversial parables in the Bible: the lesson of the fig tree.

Hal Lindsey, author of The Late Great Planet Earth, believed he had unlocked the secrets of this passage in Matthew 24:32-33, suggesting the generation that saw the 1948 rebirth of Israel as a nation—purportedly symbolized by the fig tree—would see the return of Jesus Christ. In what became the world’s best-selling nonfiction book of the 1970s, Lindsey wrote a biblical generation is “something like 40 years” and suggested that “within 40 years or so of 1948, all these things could take place.”

But when Jesus didn’t return in 1988, Lindsey’s interpretation of the passage came under heavy criticism and for many years the church largely shied away from teaching Bible prophecy. Now, World Bible Society President F. Kenton “Doc” Beshore argues Lindsey’s interpretation of the passage was correct, but he was wrong about the length of a biblical generation.

Instead of 40 years, Beshore says a biblical generation is actually 70-80 years, basing this on Psalm 90:10:“The days of our life are 70 years; and if by reason of strength they are 80 years.” Based on this, the author of When?: When Will the Rapture Take Place? and The Millennium, the Apocalypse and Armageddon believes the Second Coming will occur sometime between 2018 and 2028, or 70 to 80 years after 1948. Taking into account the seven-year Tribulation period, Beshore expects the rapture to occur sometime between now and 2021.

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