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September 9, 2007 AM

COL 3:5& GAL 5:19-21

INTRO: Social pressures and the need to feel accepted are very real. I know that full well. I also know that if one chooses not to conform to those pressures in keeping with society's expected norms he may find himself somewhat isolated ... even ridiculed. Having said that, I know that the subject of dancing is one which is difficult for parents, teachers and preachers to address. After all, who wants to be the person who challenges such a popular activity in today's world? Who wants to be the "bad guy" who says that social dancing in the context of contemporary social activities is fraught with moral peril and has the trappings of sin? I'll be the bad guy. Years ago I made a decision based on both experience and scripture that I would not engage in this activity. And as parents, Joyce and I made this decision for our family. Why?

    1. Jesus and three New Testament writers mention this sin
      1. Mk 7:22 - Jesus identifies it as something which defiles a person
      2. 2 Cor 12:21 - Paul notes it to be a sin requiring repentance
      3. Gal 5:19 - Paul includes it as a work of the flesh
      4. Eph 4:18,19 - Paul notes it to be a sin associated with heart blindness
      5. 1 Pet 4:3 - Peter identifies it as of the Gentile way of life
      6. Jude 1:4 - Jude says it a sin of the ungodly
    2. But what is lasciviousness?
      1. it has the overarching meaning of utter shamelessness
      2. Thayer: indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females
      3. it was this explanation of the word which startled my thinking
      4. both aspects of Thayer's explanation are part of social dancing
      5. dancing brings boys/girls and men/women into a situation in which such sensual touching and moving are realities
      6. without this male/female aspect social dancing would lose its appeal!
    1. The word translated "concupiscence" may also be translated "lust"
      1. Col 3:5 - "evil concupiscence" needs to be put to death in Christians
      2. 1 Thes 4:5 - refers to it as behavior like Gentiles who "know not God"
      3. Rom 6:12 - "lusts" - same Gr. word - whatever this is, it clearly is something bad, it is something which can control the body
    2. But what is concupiscence?
      1. a yearning, a longing, a strong desire ... usually for the forbidden
      2. in the first two texts concupiscence appears in a list of sexual sins or the context of sexual impropriety - in the third it is that longing which may drive the body to an expression of it
      3. notice Mt 5:28 and the sexual desire for the forbidden
    3. Does dancing in social context arouse such desires?
      1. "vertical fornication" - "vertical expression of a horizontal desire" (in movie "Shall We Dance" - the world admits to this affirmatively
      2. the touching, the movements, the place, the music, often the presence of alcohol and drugs all combine to arouse forbidden desires
      3. 1 Cor 7:9 - "burn" - "aflame with passion" (NEV) - scripture acknowledges such arousal of such passionate desires are real ... and to place self in an environment conducive to them is most unwise!
  1. BECAUSE IT...
    1. Places one into unnecessary temptation
      1. strong physical desires are difficult to control, deny  - such desires are licit in marriage ... illicit in other relationships
      2. the best person, under such desires, can easily fall to them
      3. best advice? 1 Cor 6:18a
    2. Places ones partner into unnecessary temptation
      1. I cannot control my partner's thoughts, desires - suppose my choice causes that person to have inflamed passions?
      2. have we become so self centered that our choices, desires, interests are the only consideration?
      3. Mt 7:12 in life, whatever the arena, I must consider this
    3. Brings my influence into question
      1. I believe there is more here than "influence" - know that's my conviction
      2. yet, if my choices compromise my Christian influence and the testimony of my life, I have failed others
      3. Rom 15:2 - Phil 2:4 - are my choices building others? precious friends, this must be a discipleship consideration!

CLOSE: There are perhaps other things which could be said in this matter. My hope is to cause sincere, honest, truth seeking hearts to consider this carefully. A quotation from the 1500's says, "Through dancing many maidens have been unmaidened" (John Northbrooke). It was true then ... it's still true. Please do not turn a blind eye to the moral and spiritual dangers here.

Cecil A. Hutson

09 September 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)