Sunday, August 29, 2021

Oh You're Missing All the Fun!

Oh You're Missing All the Fun!

“As long as they are bound by their Nazirite vow, they are not allowed to eat or drink anything that comes from a grapevine—not even the grape seeds or skins.” Numbers 6:4 NLT 

Nazirites had taken, among other vows, one that precluded them from the use of wine. So that they might not violate the obligation, they were forbidden to taste even the vinegar of wine. To make the rule even clearer, they were not to touch the unfermented juice of grapes or even to eat the fruit, either fresh or dried. Altogether, to maintain the integrity of the vow, they were not allowed any use of anything related vines—they were, in fact, to avoid all appearance of evil. Surely this is a lesson to the Lord’s separated ones, teaching us to come away from sin in every form—to avoid not only its obvious manifestations, but even its spirit and likeness. This kind of strict caution is not popular these days, but rest assured, dear reader, it is both the safest and happiest way to live. The one who yields a point or two to the world is in fearsome danger; the one who eats the grapes of Sodom will soon drink the wine of Gomorrah. A little crack in the dike in Holland lets in the sea, and the gap opens quickly until an entire province is drowned. Conformity to the world, in any degree, is a trap for the soul, making it more and more liable to larger, presumptuous sins. A Nazirite who drank grape juice could never be entirely sure whether it might not have begun to ferment, so he could not be certain in heart that his vow was intact. In a similar way, the Christian who flirts with sin cannot enjoy a clear conscience. Questionable thoughts and behaviors do not need to be questioned; they are wrong to us. We must not toy with temptations, but flee them with all speed. Better to be mocked as a Puritan than despised as a hypocrite. The careful way of life may involve much self-denial, but it has pleasures of its own that are more than a sufficient reward. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

I can't tell you how many times I was both told, or was given a look concerning not doing what I knew to be sin or a sinful act. 

Growing up it gets grouped under peer pressure. The pressure to conform to what those around you have accepted as right and is considered normal. 

In the Bible we are expressly instructed not to live as the rest of the world. To avoid even the appearance of evil.  Where? Well right here is a prime example. 1 Corinthians 10. So as to ensure understanding I included the whole chapter. 

"For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and they all passed through the sea; and they all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and they all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased; for their dead bodies were spread out in the wilderness.

Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they indeed craved them. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” Nor are we to commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor are we to put the Lord to the test, as some of them did, and were killed by the snakes. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let the one who thinks he stands watch out that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise people; you then, judge what I say. Is the cup of blessing which we bless not a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is the bread which we break not a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one loaf, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf. Look at the people of Israel; are those who eat the sacrifices not partners in the altar? What do I mean then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?

All things are permitted, but not all things are of benefit. All things are permitted, but not all things build people up. No one is to seek his own advantage, but rather that of his neighbor. Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions, for the sake of conscience; for the earth is the Lords, and all it contains. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions, for the sake of conscience. But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of that one who informed you and for the sake of conscience; Now by “conscience” I do not mean your own, but the other person’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered about that for which I give thanks?

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God. Do not offend Jews or Greeks, or the church of God; just as I also please everyone in all things, not seeking my own benefit but the benefit of the many, so that they may be saved."

As Christians in this world we are not to be following Satan's plans for world conquest. 
To be sure of what you engage in, in your life, measure it against God's Word. 

We are easily taken in without even realizing it concerning all aspects of our lives. 
We are taught from early on in life who not to question. Then, like everything he touches, Satan twists and perverts that into what works to shut down the Christian in this world. 

Twisted and perverted are the ways of Satan.  The first rule of warfare is to know your enemy. 

How many of you honestly acknowledge that you, as a child of God, are at war with the rest of mankind solely for that reason?  To become a child of God puts you at odds with the world. 

You will become Christ's workmanship. The indwelling Holy Spirit will be making God-centric changes to your heart and mind. You will, as long as you are breathing, be tempted to follow the ways of this world. Those in the ground can no longer be tempted. The dead in Christ are safe with Him. The dead who rejected Christ are likewise, interestingly enough, safe from temptation in Hell. Temptation only impacts the living. 

Our excuses for the sins we permit are the gage to show how near or far we are from walking as Children of God. 

You can, I can, we all can create justification to sin. We can create extremely plausible reasons why we have not stopped doing this or that in our lives. Pointing the finger to a prior generation in the family. Pointing to hereditary excuses. Pointing anywhere other than at ourselves for choosing to disobey God's Word. 

As Scripture also points out concerning the Believer, while our sins are covered by the shed blood of Christ, we WILL give an account of our lives before Jesus. 

It beyond boggles my mind that in the moments after the Rapture, countless billions of believers will have that played out in Christ's Throne Room all at the same time. Time doesn't exist in Heaven. 

At the Final Judgment of all unbelievers, the same happens. All will have their day in Christ Jesus’s Court all at the same time. 

We are told to consider our ways in Scripture. We are told what is right in God's eyes and what isn't.  We are told what to dwell on, that is to say what to think about, and what not to. 

We choose to bow to the pressures of conformity to the world or we choose to be obedient to God. Jesus Himself said you can't serve two Masters. You will cling to one and dispise the other. 

Choosing to obey God can come with consequences. With how the world views ethics and integrity, it can be difficult. Daniel and his friends faced it. Joseph faced it. Others in the Bible faced it.  

You must choose to obey. It will not come naturally. 

It may indeed come down to losing friends and family.  What the world calls good and acceptable you should measure against God's Word. Don’t expect many or even all to understand that stance.

You, like Joshua's stance, must choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 

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