Taking Action on Sins Against Children

With the Michael Jackson verdict looming and an eighteen year old girl lost and presumed dead in the island nation of Aruba, the country’s attention has turned to crimes against children. There is, seemingly, no more horrible crime than that committed against innocent children for whom life has so much potential. The consequences of such crimes are life long for both the victim and the perpetrator, but especially for the victim as he still has his entire life ahead. Much care, love, and devotion is necessary to nurse such an individual back to mental health and recovery from his ordeal. Too, while we have less sympathy for the perpetrator (and for good reason), this individual needs help and while justice must be served in a nation that is governed by law, a compassionate nation will do what they can to get help for such an individual.

When offenses come in reference to children (or anyone) we ought to take to heart the words of Jesus in Luke 17:1,2 “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” But Jesus continues in that very same passage with these words, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him” (Luke 17:3,4). There is forgiveness available, but it would be infinitely better if the harm had never occurred in the first place. So what can we do to prevent such horrors in ours and the lives of others?

First, we must begin with ourselves. Unfortunately, we live in a world where each of us has the potential to commit horrible crimes. The Bible says that all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and that there are none that are righteous (Romans 3:10). Sin is something that we must grapple with on a daily basis and 1 Corinthians 10:12 still says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” But we’re not simply at the mercy of our own personal passions in this regard. The Bible gives us the tools in order to overcome sin in our life. We absolutely MUST apply these tools in our own personal lives to prevent such awful tragedies. These tools include: A. prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17), B. confessing our faults to one another (James 5:16), C. studying God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15, Psalm 119:11), D. leaning and relying upon our spouse (1 Corinthians 7:1-7), E. exercising self examination and personal restraint (2 Corinthians 13:5), F. understanding the fear of God (Hebrews 10:31). There are more, no doubt, but if these are used and applied properly, it would go a long way toward eliminating sin in our life.

Second, we must educate our children on the potential dangers. Certainly educating children in regard to such dangers is a concern in the scriptures. On several occasions in the book of Proverbs, the writer addresses his “son” and gives warning concerning the evils of the world. Proverbs 1:8 states, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” and in Proverbs 1:10 we read, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” We need to make sure that our children understand that anyone can be a sinner, not just those who “look like” sinners. This means we have to instruct our children on what is and what isn’t appropriate behavior for that is the only way in which they will know who is and isn’t a sinner. The boy scouts have a great program in this regard. Every year they encourage parents to go through standard safety materials with their child so that he will be aware of the various dangers that are in the world and how to react to those dangers when confronted. These materials are available to anyone who wants them on the Internet and by request.

Third, we must exercise constant vigilance. 1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Unfortunately, we live in a society where almost everyone must be a suspect when it comes to protecting our children. Someone, somewhere, is always lurking around the corner just waiting for that opportunity. And such could happen any place and at any time. We simply can’t afford to let our guard down. We must maintain a sober attitude toward these things and not allow poor judgment and distraction to cloud our vision.

When these crimes occur, admittedly, we feel helpless. But we don’t have to be helpless victims. We can take preventative action in our lives and for the lives of our children. For the sake of our children, we simply can’t afford not to be proactive. While other individuals are responsible for their evil behavior, we must also take responsibility by not giving such individuals the opportunity to behave wickedly. Admittedly, even when we are proactive, there are still cases in which individuals are affected, but we can drastically reduce the risk through our behavior and vigilance. I hope that no one I know ever has to go through something as horrible as having their child harmed by one of these predators and I ask that you join me in prayer that our children will never experience such.

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One Ought to Know

  1. That God exists (Romans 1:19-21).
  2. That the universe and everything in it is God’s creation (Genesis 1-2).
  3. That the highest of God’s creation is mankind (Psalm 8).
  4. That God is love and that God loves mankind (1 John 4:16, John 3:16).
  5. That God is a holy and righteous God (1 Peter 1:16).
  6. That all men have sinned (offensive errors in our relationship with God) and fallen short of God’s holiness (Romans 3:23).
  7. That these sins separate man from God (Isaiah 59:2).
  8. That to die in sin means eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).
  9. That without God, man is helpless to do anything for himself to redeem himself (buy himself back) from the penalty of his sins (Psalm 49:7).
  10. That God’s righteousness and holiness demands a penalty for sin (Revelation 14:10).
  11. That God has sent his Son to pay the penalty for man’s sins (2 Corinthians 4:21).
  12. That God’s Son has redeemed mankind from their sins (1 Peter 1:18).
  13. That God’s Son is Jesus of Nazareth who is also the Christ/Messiah/Anointed one (John 20:30,31).
  14. That Jesus lived on the earth as a man and was tempted like men but did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).
  15. That Jesus taught man and left man an example of what he must do to be pleasing to God (John 8:31,32, John 13:15, 1 Peter 2:21).
  16. That Jesus can be the perfect sacrifice for sins because he lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 9:28).
  17. That Jesus gave his blood a sacrifice for the sins of man (Matthew 26:28).
  18. That Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and then was raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).
  19. That Jesus gave His plan for man’s salvation to His servants the apostles (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15,16, Luke 24:46-49).
  20. That Jesus ascended into heaven to sit on the right hand of the throne of God and rule as King (Acts 2:30-36).
  21. That Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to further teach and instruct men concerning the kingdom and their need to be saved (Acts 2:14-21).
  22. That the Holy Spirit was to guide the apostles into ALL truth (John 16:13).
  23. That those who believed and obeyed the message of salvation would be saved and added to the church, Jesus’ kingdom (Acts 2:37-47).
  24. That to be saved one must hear the gospel message, believe that Jesus is God’s son, repent of sins, confess Jesus as Lord and be baptized for the remission of sins (Romans 10:17, Hebrews 11:6, Acts 17:30, Romans 10:10, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16).
  25. That when one does such he is added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:47).
  26. That the church would be the place of the saved (Ephesians 5:23).
  27. That the individuals in the church are Christians (Acts 11:26).
  28. That the Christian is expected to live a life that is holy to God and not to corrupt it with the evil influences of the world (1 Peter 1:15,16, 1 John 2:15-17).
  29. That the Christian that sins willfully will no longer have forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 10:26) and that if he turns back to the world he will be lost (2 Peter 2:20-22).
  30. That Christians are the people of God (1 Peter 2:9).
  31. That the church belongs to Christ (Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 5:23-25).
  32. That it is only through our belonging to Christ in the church that we can worship God acceptably (1 Peter 2:9).
  33. That we must allow God to tell us how to worship Him (John 4:24).
  34. That God has told us through the Holy Spirit inspired apostles how to worship Him (Acts 2:42).
  35. That the praise in worship that Christians offer consists of “fruit of lips” (Hebrews 13:15).
  36. That we worship God by remembering every Sunday the death of Jesus in partaking of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
  37. That we worship God by singing praises (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16).
  38. That we worship God by studying His word (Acts 2:42).
  39. That we worship God when we pray (1 Timothy 2:1).
  40. That we worship God when we give (2 Corinthians 8-9).
  41. That the church has a work to do, make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
  42. That the church has been given instruction on how to do this work (Colossians 1:10).
  43. That the Bible contains all the information that the church needs to do this work (2 Peter 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:16,17).
  44. That we must study the Bible in order to do this work and be approved before God (2 Timothy 2:15).
  45. That the church has been organized by her head, Jesus (Ephesians 1:22), in an efficient way to accomplish this work.
  46. That there was a temporary organization to initially build the church and that there is a permanent organization for the ongoing activities of the church (Ephesians 4:7-16).
  47. That part of the temporary organization of the church were men directly inspired by God, apostles, prophets, and others inspired to do other things (Ephesians 4:11,12, 1 Corinthians 13:8-10)
  48. That they completed their work and left a perfect pattern (seed) for all additional churches to follow (2 Timothy 2:2).
  49. That when this pattern (seed) is followed, we will have what they intended for us to have (2 Timothy 1:13, Luke 8:11, 1 Peter 1:23).
  50. That the permanent organization for the church is left in this pattern (1 Timothy 3:15).
  51. That this permanent organization consists of elders and deacons in each congregation (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9).
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Who Are You?

On one occasion when Paul was preaching the gospel in the city of Ephesus, a certain group of vagabonds sought to emulate Paul by taking it upon themselves to cast out a demon. When these men sought to do such, the evil spirit turned on them and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” (Acts 19:15).

“Who are you?” This is such a simple question, yet profound at the same time. In its most simply form, we usually answer that we are such and so who works here and lives there. For most, that is the extent to which they desire to know who we are; but are we personally satisfied with knowing ourselves in such a superficial manner? I hope not. There is so much more that we ought to know about ourselves than what our name is and where we work.

“Who are you?” When we seek to answer this question in a deeper way, we may start examining some of the relationships that we have and looking at ourselves in light of those relationships. “I am a husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, cousin, in-law” and on the list could go. We may even start to enumerate the relationships we have outside of our family. “I am a boss, employee, teacher, carpenter, engineer, preacher, chef, administrator, assistant,” and etc. Yet even at this level, we are still just scratching the surface as to who we are.

“Who are you?” Let’s plunge even deeper to find the answer to this question. We may, in answer to this question, start to discuss some of our character traits, whether good or bad. “I am honest, dependable, hardworking, kind, generous, truthful, loving, clean, sober, helpful” and etc. Others may look at us though and have a different way of describing us. They may say, “He is deceitful, untrustworthy, lazy, mean, hateful, stingy, dirty, selfish” and etc. The kind of list we make depends upon the kind of life that we live and the kind of life that we live depends upon the beliefs that we have. But still, while we are getting deeper into this question, there is yet more.

“Who are you?” When we strip away all that we think of ourselves and that everyone else thinks of us, there is only one answer with which we are left. “I am the creation of God.” The Bible teaches that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). This means that he is a unique and special creation out of all of God�s creation. From the time of our birth to our death, we live to make a life that is worthy of our creation and Creator. We can so live our life so as to glorify and honor our Creator. Or, we can choose to so live so as to rebel against Him and bring shame and dishonor upon ourselves. Perhaps a greater question than the question “Who are you?” is the question “Who do you want to be?”

To answer that question I say, “I want to be a Christian.” To be a Christian means that we return to our creation, to live in the image of God. We can know how to live in the image of God because God has shown us His image in His Son, Jesus. 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ is the image of God. And Colossians 3:10 tells us that when we become a Christian we put on the image of Christ. Hence, to be a Christian is to live in the image of Christ and thus to live in the image of God. If you want to live according as God has created you, then you will be a Christian.

“Who are you?” I am a Christian. No additional descriptions required. If I am truly a Christian, then others are going to know what I am in relationship with God; they are going to know what I am morally; they are going to know what I am in my relationship with my family; they are going to know what I am in the work place; they are going to know what I am regardless of what I do or where I live. That name says it all; I’m a Christian and I hope that you will choose to be one too.

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