Wednesday, January 1, 2014
New Year's Eve is a traditional party night if there ever was one. Images of endless streams of champagne, flowing freely from bottle to glass and from glass to lips. Somewhere along the line, New Year's Eve has turned into a night of drunkenness and debauchery (bad or immoral behavior that involves sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.). Why?
To quote King Solomon, "There is nothing new under the sun" however. Maybe the marijuana parts might be relatively new but people have been getting drunk for thousands of years. The Bible is filled with warnings about such behavior and some of those warnings are very, VERY scary. Here's a few: Ephesians 5:18, Proverbs 20:1, 1 Peter 5:8, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Proverbs 23:29-35, Isaiah 5:11
But probably the scariest warning was written to the churches of Galatia by the apostle Paul.
"16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." - Galatians 5:16-26
Paul is writing to Christians, telling them they shouldn't get drunk, amongst their many other sins. Yet year after year we present-day Christians, just like the Galatians, ignore Paul's warning and just continue on sinning. Why?
Well, it could be that we simply aren't aware of Paul's warning. Have you ever heard of the saying that "ignorance is no excuse?" It would be like trying to talk your way out of a speeding ticket by saying, "I didn't know that driving faster than the law allows would get me into trouble." That may play some role in the choices we make I guess.
Another reason for sinning, and that's what "getting wasted" in ANY "works of the flesh" listed above is, is that we are sinners by our very nature. We simply can't help ourselves. Besides, it makes us feel better and God wants us to be happy, right? Wrong! God wants us to be obedient. That is a large part of why we Christians continue to sin day after day. But there is another reason, far more scary than the two I have already mentioned. False converts.
When we receive the Holy Spirit we Christians are given the power to overcome sin. We are made strong, in Christ. Christians who have truly repented will exhibit signs of that repentance called Fruits of The Spirit." Read verses 22-24 again. The words "self-control" could easily be replaced by "don't get wasted."
There is good news for us sinners though, and that includes everyone reading, and writing, this blog. Jesus is mighty to save. He died for our sins - past, present and future. But we must allow Him to be the Lord of our lives. We are His, not our own. If we say we are Christians and go on sinning without remorse, are we not mocking what Christ did for us on the cross?
The scariest thing to comprehend is that some people THINK they are Christians but really aren't. That is incredibly scary!! If we are truly Christians we will be recognized by the change within us. We will begin exhibiting the fruits of the spirit. We will begin throwing off the old self and begin walking in the light. It's called sanctification - becoming more like Christ in everything we think, do and say. We must strive for that, if we truly are alive in Christ.
Before I close, one more scary passage to consider.
" 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." - Hebrews 10:26-31
I'm not intentionally trying to start of the new year with a doom and gloom message this morning. Rather, I'd like us all to consider a God-honoring life in Christ. In everything we do let us honor God with our lives. When we are about to make a decision, let us ask ourselves "How is what I am about to do, honoring to God." If our lives are not exemplifying Christ, how can we truly call ourselves Christians? Let us not live wasted lives but lives alive in Christ. For as Christians, we do not live to "enjoy ourselves" but to honor God. Let us start off the new year doing so. Let us sanctify ourselves before the Lord and honor Him . . . as long as it is called "today."
Better Than Drugs by Skillet