Memorial Day

The verse that immediately came to my mind when thinking about Memorial Day was John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This verse is often quoted on Memorial Day and frequently applied (in most cases, correctly) to the men and women who have died to serve our country. Memorial Day, then, is the day that we remember those who have fallen, whether in battle or in peacetime, who have sacrificed all simply for the sake of their fellow man’s freedom. This day, in our culture, comes around once a year and to most, this day signifies the beginning of the summer season and the associated recreational activities.

What will you do on Memorial Day? Some will have backyard cook outs. Some will go to the lake or beach. Some will go to a park for a picnic. Others will attend a parade or some other Memorial Day celebration. But our eternal destiny does not depend upon us doing any one particular thing on Memorial Day.

There is another memorial day, however, that is much more significant than the Memorial Day which we celebrate every year. This memorial day commemorates One who not only gave His life for his friends, but also for His enemies (Romans 5:7, 8). This memorial day is not to remember those who have fallen in battle, but One who was triumphant over death (Colossians 2:15). This memorial day doesn’t begin a single season of the year, but begins every week of the year. This memorial day is observed by those who are faithful Christians upon the first day of the week, every week. What is this day of which I speak? It is Sunday, the first day of the week (Mark 16:2, 9, Acts 20:7), the Lord’s day (Revelation 1:10).

Yes, today is memorial day. The early Christians gathered upon the first day of the week to remember the Lord by partaking of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7). Jesus said in Luke 22:19 “�this do in remembrance of me” and Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:24, 25 reiterated this statement of Jesus in regard to the Lord’s Supper as well. Yes, today is memorial day. When we eat of the bread and drink of the fruit of the vine, we remember the body and blood of Jesus. We remember that He died for us; we remember that He was resurrected to live again (Philippians 3:10); we remember that his physical death gave us spiritual life that we might live in Him each day (1 Thessalonians 5:10). Yes, today is memorial day as well as next Sunday, and the Sunday after that; each first day of the week we observe memorial day.

What will you do on memorial day? Many think that memorial day is a day to stay home and rest, or go to the park, or beach or lake. Yet others believe that we must make an observance of memorial day, but not the full observance by remembering His body and blood in His supper, at His table. We each have a choice this memorial day. We can abide by the instructions of the One who established memorial day and remember Him as He desires, or we can do whatever we desire whether that is not observing the day at all, or only partly observing it. One thing is certain; our eternal destiny will depend upon how we observe this memorial day.

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Is Dancing a Sin?

Is dancing a sin? Is it a sin to go to the prom? Is it a sin to participate in ballet?

This is a question, like so many decisions that we have to make in our personal life, which is not directly answered in the scriptures. In other words, there are no scriptures that say, “Dancing is sinful.” And when it comes to questions such as this one, they are largely answered based upon our attitude toward the word of God. So the first thing that we need to ask ourselves in answer to this question is this: am I going to have an attitude that seeks to avoid any questionable decisions in my life and the appearance of impropriety? Or am I going to have an attitude that seeks to try to get away with as much as possible? If we have the attitude that we are just going to do the minimum and get away with doing as little as possible for the Lord and focus on trying to gratify ourselves then we will not come to the right conclusion regarding this question and toward many questions that will arise in our life. On the other hand, if we have the attitude that we are going to go the extra mile in our service to Christ (Matthew 5:41), to be a living sacrifice for Him (Romans 12:1), and avoid the appearance of evil (1 Thess.5:22), then we will ultimately be better off.

Before we answer the question, let us define what we are discussing when we talk about dancing. I am not speaking about the companionship that a husband and wife may share together in the privacy of their own home. I am not even necessarily speaking about moving one’s body in rhythm with music such as children do or such as an adult might do when he or she is happy about something and is enjoying listening to music. There is nothing inherently wrong with moving rhythmically to music. As I am defining dancing in answer to this question, I am speaking of the modern dance and the circumstances that surround it. The modern dance is a social function. It is an effort on the part of those who organize and participate within it to bring members of the opposite sex together in a social way so as to stimulate sexual attractiveness. The modern dance places a single man and woman together in a very close and intimate way in a very public setting. The modern dance encourages men and women to move in ways that are lewd and suggestive. The attire at a modern day dance usually has young women exposing a large part of their body in a suggestive and sexually attractive way. Also associated with the modern dance is the consumption of alcohol; whether done legally or illegally there is usually someone who will bring it in on the side. In addition to alcohol, the modern dance often leads a young couple to perform more intimate activities subsequent to the dance such as petting and even in some cases, fornication. It is therefore the whole situation about which I am discussing in answer to this question.

Now while the Bible does not come out and directly say “dancing is a sin,” there are some scriptures that indicate that participating in such actions do not become one who would name himself a Christian. Let’s look at a few of these scriptures. The first is in 1 Peter 2:11. There Peter writes, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul�.” Peter was writing to Christians who were being tempted to follow after the ways of the world to fit into society. He tells them that they need to abstain from fleshly lusts. Fleshly lusts are evil desires that come from a love of the world and not a love of God. These fleshly lusts are said to war or fight against the soul. By this we understand him to say that by fulfilling these lusts, these desires, we will put ourselves into a situation where our Christianity will be challenged–where Satan will have opportunity to tempt us and where we will be discouraged from trying to do what is right. Now if the modern dance does not fall into this category, I do not know what does. Those who participate in the modern dance will be challenged in their Christianity, they will give Satan an opportunity to tempt them and they will be discouraged from trying to do what is right. Why would a Christian want to place oneself into such a situation?

Look also at 1 Thessalonians 5:22. In the King James Version we read, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” If it even looks like it might be wrong, then we need to keep away from it. There can be no doubt that some of the movements in the modern dance have the appearance of evil and so we should abstain from it.

Notice also 1 Peter 4:1-4 “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” We notice from this passage that Christ ceased from the sins of the flesh so that we might be saved. Would we put ourselves into the presence of the very things from which He ceased in order for us to have a momentary time of pleasure and enjoyment? Peter lists the things that he is specifically talking about. These things include lasciviousness, revellings, and banquetings. These are activities that in the ancient world were associated with sexual promiscuity. The modern dance is also one of those things.

Notice Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” The real interesting item in this list is “such like.” That is, if there is anything in the world that is similar to the types of things that have been mentioned in this passage which Paul says are the works of the flesh, we should not have anything to do with it. Certainly the modern dance places one in a situation where one is tempted to indulge in the works of the flesh and so we should abstain from it.

John writes to the Christian in 1 John 2:15-17 “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 for ever.” The modern dance is a thing of the world and when we demonstrate that we love things of the world more than we love God, God’s love no longer abides in us. Why would we want to remove ourselves from the love of God for an hour or two of worldly pleasure? James 4:4 states “�know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Why become the enemy of God for a few hours of social interaction?

Finally, we should take heed to the admonition that Paul gives to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived, evil companionships corrupt good morals.” Those in the world who go to and participate in the modern dance go there expecting to engage in something enticing and titillating. They go with evil purposes in mind. The Christian who chooses to go to the dance surrounds himself with these evil companionships. Why should a Christian purposefully want to ignore the inspired words in this passage?

The modern dance holds many dangers for the Christian both young and old. I once knew a Christian couple who would go to clubs with the intent of “picking each other up” at these different establishments. I suppose that they got some measure of enjoyment and a certain thrill out of doing this. However, it was not very long before one of them was engaged in an adulterous situation and the church was moved to withdraw fellowship from this person. Their marriage ended in divorce and their children separated from mother and father. Oh how that couple wishes that they had never gone to such places and participated in such reckless abandon with their Christianity. Let us resolve not to make the same mistake in our lives and avoid the modern dance.

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What is the Perfect in I Corinthians 13:10?

At the time of Paul’s writings, I believe the NT was not yet written, incomplete. The “impefect” I beleive is the miraclious spiritual gifts which ceased. What do you think the “perfect” is in 1 Cor. 13:10?

“The perfect” in this passage is the coming completion of the revelation of God to man in what we have today as the New Testament. It is the “perfect law of liberty” according to James 1:25. Ephesians 4 also speaks about the coming of the unity of “the faith.” So it was not the incomplete revelation, but the coming completed revelation. That is “that which is perfect/complete.”

This makes sense in the context too. What was incomplete? Prophecies, tongues, knowledge. What are those things? They are ways of revealing the truth. Well, when you have all of the truth, then you no longer need those things that reveal the truth to you. Jesus promised that the apostles would be guided into “all truth” (John 16:13). So that is what we must believe that happened.

Paul was speaking at a time when that was not yet accomplished. So, they still needed those prophecies, tongues, and knowledge. However, when that which is perfect/complete is come, then that which is incomplete would be done away.

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Why Do Christians Worship on Sunday?

Please give some thought on why we worship on Sundays or the importance of the Sunday worship. Why not on other days? Why do we meet on Sunday, the first day of the week?

Our meeting upon the first day of the week is neither by accident nor by arbitrary selection. There are some scriptures which specifically mention the first day of the week and there are other scriptures in which the first day of the week is implied. Let’s look at these scriptures and see what we can gain in understanding from them. First, we find that all four writers of the gospel accord that Jesus was resurrected upon the first day of the week. Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; and John 20:1 all record Jesus as having been resurrected upon the first day of the week. We ask the question, why would the gospel writers/Holy Spirit have included this within their narrative if it were not significant? Remember, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were all written years after the actual events occurred and the writers would have already been participating in first century worship long before they picked up the inspired pen to jot these things down. So it is not without reason that they all mention that Jesus was resurrected upon the first day of the week. Yet at this point in our discussion we know not what that reason might be. But it would certainly be fitting to say that we meet upon the first day of the week because that was the day in which our Lord was raised.

Second, we find that the preaching of the first gospel sermon and the terms of the entrance into the kingdom of God was upon the first day of the week. In Acts 2, the apostles were all meeting together on the day of Pentecost. The day of Pentecost was fifty days after the Passover Sabbath according to Leviticus 23:15, 16. So fifty days later would be forty-nine days (seven weeks) plus one day. Seven weeks from the Sabbath would be on a Saturday, so the fiftieth day would be on a Sunday or the first day of the week. Acts 2:41, 42 we read the following, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Most Bibles will insert a period after verse 41 and then start a new paragraph in verse 42. However, I would like to note that this is not necessarily warranted by the text. In the original Greek manuscripts, there was no punctuation. So verse 42 could likely be the continued thought of verse 41. In this case, that would make the continuing in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers happening upon the first day of the week. We could have in this verse the very beginning of the observance of the Lord’s supper. I want you also to notice the quality of events that are occurring within this verse. They are all aspects of worship. Here is the first worship assembly and the things that they did in worship to God. They studied, they broke the bread and they prayed. We see, however, in verse forty-six a contrast between the former breaking of bread. This second mention of breaking of the bread occurs daily, from house to house, and is also accompanied by the phrase “did eat their meat with gladness.” This reference to breaking bread refers to the daily meals that they took to nourish themselves. Why are two different references to breaking of bread mentioned if not to draw a contrast between the two? So we meet upon the first day of the week to worship because the apostles did this on the first day the message of the kingdom of God was preached, and they also observed the Lord’s supper here as well.

Third, we see need to take a good look at Acts 20:7. We read here, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” In this context, Paul and a band of men are carrying the great collection that they have received from the churches in Macedonia, Greece, and Asia back to the church of Jerusalem to be distributed to the poor among the saints (Romans 15:26). Certain of the company went before Paul to Troas and evidently they decided that they would meet up at that location. Verse 6 of Acts 20 indicates to us that they left after the days of unleavened bread. Most likely this refers to the days of the Passover indicating that it has been completed. They arrived in Troas in five days yet they stayed for seven days. Let us keep in mind that Paul wanted to get this money back to Jerusalem for the poor and that he would have not wanted to unnecessarily delay his journey. Carrying large sums of money in that day was very dangerous for travelers. This is in part why there were so many accompanying him. They acted as both a surety that Paul was dealing wisely with the funds and also as a body guard of sorts to protect him from any thieves or brigands that might waylay them on the road. So I am sure that Paul would have wanted these funds to get into the proper hands as soon as possible. Yet he stays in Troas for seven days. Why would he do this? One can only think that it was so that he could come together with the disciples upon the first day of the week to break bread and that is exactly what is indicated by the text. The Greek text is more clear as to the purpose of the gathering in verse 7. It is for the purpose of breaking bread. That is why they came together. This is a grammatical construction in the Greek known as the infinitive of purpose. Paul’s preaching to them was an incidental event as far as the gathering was concerned. The purpose of the meeting was to break bread. The phrase “to break bread” is a figure of speech known as synecdoche, referring to a part of something when one is really making reference to the whole of something. The breaking of the bread was the opening part of the Lord’s supper as described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:24. Hence, that action became the symbol for the whole of the Lord’s Supper itself. This is what we find in Acts 20:7. If they knew that Paul needed to be on their way, why did not the brethren have the Lord’s supper some other day that would be more convenient to Paul? In short, because it was not the apostolic custom to meet upon any other day. The keeping of the apostolic traditions was something that Paul wrote concerning numerously indicating that they were authoritative and definitive regarding Christian practice (cf. 1 Cor.11:1; 2 Thess.3:6).

Fourth, we need to look at 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2. We read there a command by Paul to the church at Corinth. It says, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” Although it is not translated this way, there is a preposition of time used in the phrase “upon the first day of the week” in this passage indicating that the Christians at Corinth meet upon every first day of the week. This is significant because to this point in our study we have seen that the first day of the week should be recognized for the resurrection of Christ. The first day of the week was when the apostles first met and preached the terms of entrance into the kingdom and first worshipped with the first church. The first day of the week was the day for which Paul and his companions and the church at Troas waited so that they could partake of the Lord’s supper. Now we have here the implication that it was not just upon occasional first days of the week, but it was upon every first day of the week. Paul is not giving a new commandment to meet upon the first day of the week to take up the collection here, but is presupposing a practice which they are already observing–that they are meeting upon the first day of the week. He is adding additional requirements to that meeting time. When you meet upon every first day of the week as it is your practice to do, go ahead and take up the collection for the saints as well. They were already meeting upon the first day of the week to do something. What were they doing? The rest of the book of 1 Corinthians kind of fills us in. They were worshipping. How were they worshipping? Part of that worship included the observance of the Lord’s supper as Paul had instructed them to do earlier in the book. The implication here is that they were partaking of the Lord’s supper upon every first day of the week.

One final passage noteworthy of our interest in this regard we find in Revelation 1:10 John says that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. By the time John wrote the book of Revelation, the apostolic tradition had taken hold and been held fast so that John can refer to a specific day of the week and everyone know exactly what day he is discussing. This day was the Lord’s day–the first day of the week. Wouldn’t this be consistent with what we have learned about this day so far? This was the day that Jesus was resurrected; this was the day that the gospel was first preached; this was the day that the church first worshipped; this was the day on which the Lord’s supper was observed; and this was the day that the Lord’s collection was taken up. Need we any more evidence from the scriptures as to what day the “Lord’s Day” would be? Would it not be the first day of the week? No other day would have been referred to as the Lord’s Day by John.

Hence, from the evidence that is contained within the scriptures we may come to the conclusion that early Christians worshipped upon the first day of the week. They partook of the Lord’s supper upon the first day of the week. They gave of their means upon the first day of the week. This day came to be known as the Lord’s day. Why would we want to break with apostolic tradition in this regard? Why would we want to introduce into the church some practices about which we cannot be certain that were observed by the Christians of the first century? If we are going to have what they had, then we need to do what they did. They met and worshipped upon the first day of the week and specifically, they partook of the Lord’s supper upon the first day of the week and upon every first day of the week. Why should we do anything different than what they did? Herein lies the basic plea for New Testament Christianity–that in imitating the authorized practice of the first century church as indicated within the New Testament, we can be simply what God wants us to be–not a denominational body, not a bloated and corrupted institution of religion, but the simple church of the New Testament.

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It has been said that heaven is a prepared place for a prepare people (John 14:1). Such is true. Heaven is God’s home (Hebrews 9:24) and God’s people have the promise of being with Him there one day (Hebrews 11:16). Heaven is where Christ lives now as our High Priest and mediator (Hebrews 4:14-16). Only those who are holy, however will see God (Hebrews 12:14). Those who are unrighteous will not enter into heaven (Revelation 21:7).

  • John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
  • Hebrews 4:14-16 “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
  • Hebrews 9:24 “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:”
  • Hebrews 11:16 “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”
  • Revelation 21:1-4 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
  • Revelation 21:7 “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
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