Saturday, August 21, 2010 – Children can Die Spiritually
I thought that this week would be easier than it was last year. It was time to take my daughter back to college and while I made it through the moving days fine, walking in her room once I returned home left me with the same queasy, uneasy feeling that I had last year. I'm sure she would rather I not say this, but she is my baby girl and she always will be. It is my job to make sure she is protected in this world and that life is good for her. There is nothing comforting about sending your child out into a world that struggles so with the simple instructions God has given us in regards to how we live. This week also reminds me that my baby boy is only a few years away from his own adventure into adulthood.
Whether people are willing to admit it or not, our society is not different than the one found in Sodom and Gomorrah. It is not different than the one Jonah was told to preach to at Nineveh. We have become a society that allows the following to pervade our every waking moment:
1) A society fascinated with success, power, and sex.
2) A society that uses sex in advertising to sell everything from ballpoint pens to fertilizer.
3) A society that spends countless hours in front of television shows or movies, that are saturated with sexual scenes and other vulgarities.
4) A society that listens to music, which is almost pornographic in nature in many cases.
5) A society where many parents have little concern for their responsibility toward their children.
It isn't difficult to see that a polluted cloud of moral filth engulfs our world. On every hand there are encouragements to do wrong, and our nation is increasingly headed toward ignoring the plea to repent.
I rest in the fact that I believe my children have been and continue to be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is not just in the things they say but in decisions they make each and every day of their lives. They know who they belong to: The Lord.
Since I started this site over a year ago, I have heard the anguished cries of parents writing me to tell of the pain and heartache they are dealing with because of decisions they made in raising their children. The one message I give them is one of Hope: it will NEVER be too late to try and help your child respond to the Gospel invitation. The challenge is to be their PARENT and quit worrying about being their "friend." The best friend you can be to your child is letting them know that their soul means more to you than anything in this world. As a wise, young woman once remarked, "I love your soul more than I care about you liking me."
Will you, as parents, guide your young people away from the evils of our world or will you allow them to die spiritually? Consider the following:
1. If you want to kill your children spiritually, allow them to dress immodestly.
1.1. Too many women and men who claim to be Christians show no concern for the way they dress, and it is time that we speak out against this tragedy, especially concerning our young people and the parental responsibility along this line.
1.1.1. Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, men and women have needed to be adequately and decently clothed. You remember how that Adam and Eve sinned, and when they sinned they became conscious of their nakedness and were ashamed -- a consciousness and sense of shame that we need in our world today. They tried to clothe themselves with aprons of fig leaves, but God clothed them more adequately and decently (Genesis 2:25 - 3:31). I read one particular writer who said he wished he could find some of the fruit that Adam and Eve ate so he could pass it on to Christians by the bushel -- so that they would open their eyes and know that they were naked (Genesis 3:7).
1.1.2. Since sin awakened man's sense of shame, God has always demanded a certain code of dress (even though no one else was even around at the time of sin entering the world except Adam and Eve).
1.1.3. God insisted that the Old Testament priests wear sufficient clothing to prevent exposure as they ascended the altar steps (Exodus 20:26; 28:42-43).
1.1.4. Queen Vashti refused to allow herself to be placed on public display for the purpose of gawking at her physical beauty (Esther 1:9-12).
1.1.5. And of course we remember David and Bathsheba, who, because of public immodesty and a lack of self-control, fell into adultery.
1.2. It would be good if we had a proper understanding of immodesty.
1.2.1. Immodesty is wearing clothing that reveals or emphasizes parts of the body that, when seen by the opposite sex, draw attention to you and encourage or create evil desires. And by dressing to entice lust, a Christian not only sins, but they also cause others to sin.
1.2.2. No piece of clothing is wrong in and of itself, but it becomes wrong when worn before those of the opposite sex in such a manner that would cause a person to have lustful thoughts that cannot be scripturally satisfied.
1.2.3. Some clothing would be immodest on certain occasions, but not on others, for example, it is not immodest to take a shower naked, but it would most certainly be immodest to be in public in the same condition.
1.2.4. At this point someone will invariably argue that if a person has an evil thought that this is his or her problem. I would agree with this in a limited sense. But if I contribute to that thought, then I have participated in their sin.
1.2.5. The most important thing for us to remember when it comes to immodesty is that we are to be a people who are trying to please God. This should be our whole attitude toward everything that we do, including fashion. Our question should be "is my clothing pleasing in God's eyes?"
1.2.6. Paul wrote: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:1-2).
1.2.7. If you wear fashions that do just about as much good off as on, then you are guilty of wearing immodest apparel and you are an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, rather than being a living sacrifice. As Christians we should be concerned with our adornment beginning on the inside and then moving to the outside.
1.2.8. Misinterpretations of Peter's teaching about outward adorning (1 Peter 3:1-4), have led to several extremes on the subject. Some conclude that all outward adorning such as wearing gold, braiding the hair, and the like is forbidden, but if this is what Peter meant then no-one could wear any clothes because he includes the "putting on of apparel." The proper understanding of this passage is to see that we are to be a people who are placing our emphasis on the inward. If the inward is right, the outward will follow.
1.2.9. The Bible stresses that our clothing ought to avoid two things: sexual allurement and materialism (Proverbs 31:30; 1 Peter 3:3-5; 1 Timothy 2:9-10). What we're seeing today is that more and more Christians are dressing in ways that barely stops short of complete nudity. If all of this is decent or modest apparel -- what could be considered immodest or indecent and still be called apparel?
1.2.10. I read an article in which a man talked about a visit to a detention center where he saw a sign that read: "Visitors must be appropriately dressed. Underwear and bras must be worn, no halter tops; no short shorts; no revealing clothing." The author of the article commented to the guard about the notice and was told that "inappropriate clothing causes problems." He said it reminded him of Jesus' statement in Matthew 5:27-28: But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. I couldn't help but wonder as I read of this account, if the world can see what problems are created by immodest dress, why can't Christians.
1.3. I Corinthians 6:19-20 - Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
2. If you want to kill your children spiritually, allow them to participate in modern dancing.
2.1. It is never popular to condemn sin and it is even less popular when it is a sin that people enjoy, unfortunately this is an area where a real lack of teaching has occurred.
2.2. Many teenage and adult Christians participate in dancing simply because they have never been taught its dangers. Some others have been taught the truth on this subject, but have refused to accept the truth. The second category we cannot help, but I do hope that if someone falls into that first category, this section of the lesson will be of help to him or her. We're going to identify three very serious areas of problems concerning the modern dance.
2.2.1. First, we need to understand and we need to teach our children that dancing is worldly. Everything associated with dancing is worldly, the songs, the places, the clothing, and the refreshments.
188.8.131.52. John wrote: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever" (1 John 2:15-17).
184.108.40.206. So many sinful things are associated with dancing today: drinking, drugs, going parking, petting, immodesty, and fornication. I can remember hearing stories of senior classes picking their faculty advisor based upon which one would be most likely to go along with all of these things at the dances and the senior trip.
220.127.116.11. Paul wrote, "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (I Thes. 5:22).
18.104.22.168. nd James tells us that pure religion is being "unspotted from the world" (James 1:27) -- yet I cannot see how one can be unspotted from the world and still participate in the sinful act of the modern dance.
2.2.2. We also need to understand and we need to teach our children that dancing is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). It is “lasciviousness”. The appeal of dancing is, at least partially, sexual in nature. A study of the original word, which is, translated "lasciviousness" here in Galatians 5 quickly reveals that this is not something a Christian is to be involved with.
22.214.171.124. The definition of lasciviousness is -- absence of restraint, indecency, indecent bodily movements (that would be dancing), and unchaste handling of males and females (petting, and also in some dancing). There will be those that argue regarding this point, but you can't change the fact that dancing is sexual in nature.
2.2.3. We need to understand and we need to teach that dancing leads to further sin (Proverbs 6:27).
126.96.36.199. School statistics, police statistics, and medical statistics, all confirm that school dances (including and especially the prom) all raise the rates of teen sex, drunkenness, venereal diseases, and other problems.
188.8.131.52. In one Bible passage dancing resulted in murder. In Matthew 14:1-12 we read of this and the style of dancing here would be the closest Bible description to the modern fast dance.
184.108.40.206. Dancing is just like the sexual relationship. If a husband and wife wants to dance in private with one another, they would have a right to do so because they would have a right to fulfill the sexual aspects of that relationship. But other than in a private setting between a husband and wife, dancing is sinful.
3. If You Want To Kill Your Children spiritually, don’t teach them about the Sexual Relationship and Marriage.
3.1. The Bible clearly says that those who practice fornication, uncleanness, and lewdness will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-5). These works of the flesh spring out of an evil heart (Mark 7:21-23). Christians are to abstain from fornication and keep themselves pure and holy for the Lord’s sake (I Thess. 4:3-5; I Cor. 6:13). Flee fornication is the charge of the scriptures (I Cor. 6:13) for God will judge whoremongers and adulterers (Heb. 13:4) and cast them into eternal damnation (Rev 21:8; 22:15).
3.1.1. Fornication means prostitution, unchastity, and every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse outside of marriage.
3.1.2. Lasciviousness is defined as indecent conduct, unbridled lust, filthy words, indecent bodily movements, and unchaste handling of males and females.
3.2. Saving the sexual relationship solely for the marriage relationship is for our own good, but more importantly God commands it.
3.2.1. Pregnancy: 1 out of 3 teens who has sex out of marriage gets pregnant. 1 out of 5 of these teens who gets pregnant does so in the first month of sexual activity.
3.2.2. Sexual diseases: AIDS, etc.
3.3. Relationship with each other:
3.3.1. As God designed it, the sexual relationship between a husband and wife is the deepest, most intimate form of communication and giving.
3.3.2. When properly expressed, it draws them closer and forms the lifelong bond of "becoming one" (Matthew 19:5).
3.3.3. Sex was intended for a complete commitment.
3.4. Relationship with God
3.4.1. Sin always eats at our relationship with God. We can pray, but it won't do any good until we repent.
3.4.2. Why keep the sexual relationship only in marriage? Because God said so. God made the sexual relationship for husband and wife, and He set the boundaries so we won't abuse it. He knows us. He knows what will happen if we abuse our sexuality.
3.5. What about petting?
3.5.1. Petting refers to all sorts of passionate kissing, roaming hands, inappropriate touching of the male and female body. Many couples feel that they participate in these activities as long as they abstain from sexual intercourse. They consider themselves technically “virgins”.
3.5.2. Petting outside of marriage falls under lasciviousness. There is no such thing as a “technical virgin”.
3.5.3. The Christian’s character determines his or her sexual behavior and his character is determined by the holiness of God (I Peter 1:15-16).
3.6. Parents have a responsibility to train their children about sex and dating.
3.6.1. Survey of 2,400 teens found that the younger a person begins dating, the more likely they are to have sex before graduating high school.
220.127.116.11. 12 years - 91%; 13 years - 56%; 14 years - 53%; 15 years - 40%; 16 years - 20%.
4. If you want to kill your children spiritually, ignore their education.
4.1. What are they being taught in school?
4.1.1. Evolution, atheism, sexual promiscuity, humanistic philosophy, etc
4.1.2 Macro-evolution is a LIE. It has no facts to back it up. There are hundreds of resources Christians need to be utilizing to understand the truth of creation and share that truth with others!
4.2. What are they being taught in the movies, and TV shows they watch? What are they being taught by the kind of music they listen to?
4.2.1. Movies and television are by far the chief disseminators of the immoral sexual revolution that has rocked our nation over the last forty years.
18.104.22.168. They promote situation ethics, fornication, alcoholic lifestyles, violence, humanistic, and materialistic values.
4.2.2. What about the lyrics to the music they listened to?
22.214.171.124. They promote murder, suicide, drugs, fornication, etc.
4.3. What are they being taught as they surf the web?
4.3.1. Statistics show that there are more than 72,000 sexually explicit sites on the web and an estimated 266 new porn sites being added each day. These sites alone generate a revenue of over $1 billion dollars each year. The Playboy site averages 5 million hits a day.
126.96.36.199. As of 1997, research showed that 11% of children under 11 and 25% of all teens had reported visiting web sites with pornographic materials.
188.8.131.52. What is scary, is that you can stumble up on these sites very easily.
4.3.2. We all know of the Internet cults such as the Trench Coat Mafia and the Columbine tragedy.
4.3.3. Online affairs and unmonitored chat rooms are becoming a serious problem.
184.108.40.206. Children are being stalked, contacted, and even abducted by pedophiles and child molesters online. The web has become an easy way for people to manipulate and coerce our children.
5. If you want to kill your children spiritually, neglect teaching them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
5.1. Alcohol is the third leading cause of death in America. There are at least 11 million alcoholics, plus another 20 million who run a high risk of becoming alcoholics in the U.S.
5.2. There are over 3.3 million problem drinkers among youth in the 14-17 age range. Among high school seniors, 93% of males and 87% of females have experimented with alcohol.
5.3. Drunkenness is sinful. The New Testament clearly states that the drunkard cannot enter the kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21).
5.4. Rulers were warned against strong drink because it distorted their ability to think and judge clearly (Prov. 31:4-5).
5.5. The evidence indicates that there is no safe level of drinking alcoholic beverages. Only a small amount of alcohol will impair the higher functions of the brain, reducing the sense of caution, and judgment of a person.
5.6. Drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc) have been proven to have at least the same, if not a more dangerous, effect on people.
6. If you want to kill your children spiritually, neglect their spiritual training.
6.1. It is a serious but common mistake to conceive of the church as having the young people. It is parents who have young people, and parents who will answer to God for the way they have invested these precious resources (Eph. 6:1-4; Col. 3:20-21; Deut. 6:4-9).
6.2. No rightful thinking parent will contend that two or even three hours a week at the church building is enough for children or adults.
6.3. The focal point of our Bible classes should be the bible. If our children associate their time spent in class with candy, crackers, or crafts rather than learning God’s Word, then something is seriously wrong.
6.4. We need to teach, encourage, and expect our children to participate in worship to the maximum that their maturity level allows.
6.4.1. Those who promote “Children’s Worship” argue that children can learn about and experience “worship on their level” without becoming bored or causing disruptions in the adult assembly.
220.127.116.11. The answer is not to herd them off into another room to play games and watch puppet shows.
18.104.22.168. We send the wrong message to our children when they grow up thinking that worshipping God is about entertainment.
6.4.2. Before children can even talk, they can begin to learn that worship is a very special occasion, which demands special behavior. They can learn that being taken out in the middle of the service is something to be avoided, rather than desired.
22.214.171.124. If children can talk, they can learn to sing. If they can read, they can read scriptures.
6.5. Children must see how important worshipping God is to their parents.
Our responsibilities as Christians and our responsibilities as parents are very serious. God will hold us accountable for what we do as parents. As parents we need to avoid sin in our own lives, and we need to teach our children about the dangers of sin, and use our parental authority to ensure that they don't participate. Understand that ungodly parents rarely produce godly children, even though occasionally children will overcome their parents' influence.
What kind of influence do you have as a parent? As long as they live, you can make a difference!