What is Inappropriate Contact?

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I feel compelled to write a word on this topic because of a Facebook post I saw the other day. A brother lamented a situation in the congregation where he is serving about an accusation by a lady toward another person (male) about inappropriate contact (I noticed he did not identify her as a sister in the Lord). The accusation was loud, and visitors saw this. You can imagine the response.

What is inappropriate contact? Many folks are not sure what it is in today’s “accusatory environment.” Accusations fly, and whether accurate or not, some lives are destroyed or adversely affected.

I can safely and biblically say that any contact that is contrary to biblical principles would be inappropriate contact, and who would disagree? No one that I l know of; still, what constitutes inappropriate contact? At the very least, it means there is no touching a person in any way that can be misconstrued or interpreted as a sexual advance. Unfortunately, some want attention, or some want to misinterpret innocent touching with sexual advancement.

Is hugging a child, a person of the opposite sex, or person of the same gender inappropriate? No. In today’s environment, however, it can be easily seen as improper, and in many cases it’s because what is appropriate is not known/understood. This gets us to trying to understand a proper measuring standard by which to judge.

There are so many that are truly guilty of inappropriate actions, misplaced words, and activities that are contrary to the Lord’s way, the proper standard by which to judge. Those who are guilty make it bad for everyone else. The failings of man, in this context, the male, has been around since the time of the Garden, but as the male is guilty, the female is not innocent. The actions of some have made genuine warmth scarce. So many who are truly guilty have “spoiled” the whole bunch.

No Christian should be involved with inappropriate touching, speaking, actions, even thinking! If one is, then the one who is guilty needs to be addressed at the lowest level (Matthew 18:15-17), so understanding and correction can be attained. When one makes it public, when no attention or effort is given to the matter in private, the one going public wants attention. No longer is it a matter of right-conduct or correction, but it then becomes “I want attention and I want you to look and hear me.”

Precisely identifying inappropriate contact in all regards is impossible; there is some contact that is easily and properly interpreted as improper, but there is some contact that is not easily seen to be or interpreted as improper. Here is the “rule of thumb” to think and live by: “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands…And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:1, 4-7, NKJV). RT

A Generated Outlook

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Because the ACLU (and similar groups) reject God, such sentiments like Daniel Webster’s fall to the ground like a mother’s tears. He once wrote, “There is nothing we look for with more certainty tha[n] this principle, that Christianity is a part of the law of the land. Everything declares it” (The Christian Life and Character of Civil Institutions of the United States, p. 245). There are many groups who reject God, such as the one identified (their denials not withstanding).

Rejecting God, such groups insist on secularism that generates little accountability that has any ultimate consequence. Thus, a deranged person thinks he (she) has nothing to lose when there is engagement in evil. Under the Lord’s way of thinking, there is only one penalty if conviction results. Under the way of thinking in this country, ambulance chasers instill doubt. With little accountability and no purpose or meaning in life, one takes a gun and levels all who stand at the other end of its barrel – for secularism’s philosophy (progressives/liberals) generate such an outlook. RT

Your Name is Aaron

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Your name is Aaron. You have been chosen by the Lord to lead the people of Israel in worship to the Lord. You know your responsibility will be great, but you don’t really know how great it will be. You can’t help but to be impressed with your younger brother Moses, for it was the Lord who chose Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, but you were fortunate to be by him to help and speak for him. Already to this point, you know the Lord.

You were there when the two of you presented yourselves before the king; you were there when you both were reprimanded by the people because the burdened became much heavier for them; you were there when Egypt’s king called Moses before him more than once seeking relief; you were there when Pharaoh sent you and the nation out of NE Africa with haste. You saw all of this, but more than having seen it, you experienced it. Now, the Lord choose you to lead His people. Your name is Aaron.

Through Moses, the Almighty tasked you to head up his priestly family. Moses was of the same ancestry as you, but it was you He chose. Now it begins to settle on you just how great a position of responsibility you have.

Moses calls you and your two sons, Nadab and Abihu, to be set apart for the Lord’s special work. As you look at your two sons, you are a proud father, but the significance of your role is yet before you. Animals are killed on the behalf of you three, and there is much symbolism administered as you three are set apart for a most important work. You are separated from the people at large and from your family for many days. Now it really begins to settle in on you just how important this work is. It begins to settle in, but it has not quite arrived at the point where it will settle in.

Not only are you given special clothing and set aside for a special work with much symbolism, but now you are presenting to the Lord only those things He wants done. By this time, you have come to honor, respect, revere and fear the Lord’s name and power. You are a changed man. Your two sons, you hope, have been changed as you have been. They experienced the same as you; perhaps their experience was not quite the same, but nearly so. Surely, as with your response, theirs is similar.

Now, you come to a part of the Divine service wherein an offering of incense to the Lord is to occur. You, with much devotion and respect, fulfill your responsibilities to this point; now it’s time for your sons to do the same. Before you know it, from heaven came fire and consumed them! Their lives are gone! Your mind is racing, wondering what just happened, and why it happened. Then you hear from Moses and begin to understand what happened. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified (Leviticus 10:3).

What in the world were Nadab and Abihu thinking that they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord? Some have suggested it was because of alcohol, for the Lord gives guidance concerning that in Leviticus 10. This may be exactly the problem, but I am inclined to think it was simply willful disobedience on their part to the Lord’s expressed way; they were thoughtless and careless. “Surely, the Lord will not be upset with a slight change in the offering of this incense! What difference does it make, anyway?”

Your name is Aaron. While you never met Jeremiah, you have come to learn by experience that which he wrote nearly a thousand years later, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV). You have learned that the Lord knows your heart and the heart of every one of His created beings. LESSON: Never trifle with the Lord and His way, for one can be sure sin will find them out (Numbers 32:23). RT

 

DEPART FROM THE FAITH (2)

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Last week we gave attention to what the Holy Spirit said was going to be a “departing from the faith.” We noticed this occurs because a person has ears to hear, but chooses not to hear that which the Lord said; instead, there is a desire to hear what others think and see what others have done, then follow that pattern. This is not a recent phenomenon, of course, for it goes back to the days of the prophet Samuel. It was during the days of Samuel’s judgeship the people wanted a king; Samuel protested their desire, but the Lord said to grant them the request, and give warning concerning the nature of their king. Samuel did so; the people responded, “Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles” (1 Samuel 8:19-20, KJV).

In the pages of the New Testament, the structure of the local church is placed in the hands of the Lord Jesus. It was He who said that He would build His church and the gates of Hades (Hell) will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:13-19). The gates of Hades refer to death. Paul wrote to Timothy, “and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (2 Timothy 1:10, ESV). Satan’s power over man was his death, both physical and spiritual.

Satan, however, can have no success at getting evil “in” the church (if you will) unless he is let in, and the Lord won’t do it! If the local church holds true to what the Lord taught, that is, the collective body of the saints (not a building), Satan is defeated every time. In relation to church history, it was not long before the “doors” of the New Testament church opened up and the “gates of Hades” made their way in!

In the New Testament, the church of our Lord appointed men to serve as elders (a term equivalent in function/work to bishops, presbyters, overseers or pastors), as leaders of the local congregation. Up until sometime after the end of the first century, going into the second century, this was the norm. Later, it changed. “It is evident, however, that till some time after the year 100, Rome, Greece, and Macedonia had at the head of each congregation a group of collegiate bishops, or presbyter-bishops, with a number of deacons as their helpers” (A History of the Christian Church, Williston Walker (1918), p. 46).

Is this an insignificant occurrence in church history? Not a chance! It was one of the first structural changes of the church after the simple plan of the New Testament was put in place by the Lord; He never gave authorization to a single man to alter what He set forth in the New Testament.

In another church history volume, the writer mentions that after A.D. 135, there was a single bishop in Jerusalem and one in Ephesus, because it was not until after the time of the apostles the monarchal (single) bishop came into existence (Christianity Through the Centuries, Earle Cairns (1954), cf. pages 126, 88).

When the structure on New Testament leadership is changed, as it was so long ago, it is but a short time later that others changes creep in also. History attests to this having occurred. Leadership in the New Testament church is a leadership that respects and insists on the Lord’s way, and only His way. A failure of leadership is to do things some other way. RT

DEPART FROM THE FAITH (1)

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The other day I was reading from a book that gave attention to the history of the church through the first five hundred years. As I was reflecting on that which I was reading, I took notice of what the book said about the church and compared it with what the New Testament said about the church. The two were different. That brings to mind the words of the Holy Spirit in 2 Timothy 4:3-4: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (KJV). Paul wrote to Timothy these words also, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

I want you to notice the two passages again. First, people will not endure sound doctrine; that means there will be some who will not want to hear a “thus saith the Lord” from the pulpit or in the Bible class setting. Yet, the Holy Spirit said that if any man speaks, let him speak the very oracles (words) of God (1 Peter 4:11). Second, these same people who will not endure sound doctrine (words) are people who have ears to hear, but will only hear what they want to hear (they have itching ears). If/When something new is being done elsewhere, there is a tendency to give thought to “Why can’t we do that here?” which then translates into “We need to do that here!” Third, the “itching-ear-person” then turns to a preacher who gives an ointment that sooths the ear, and this is not a good thing! The Lord said this is a turning away from the truth unto things that are not true, but instead are fables in relation to God’s will. Fourth, this turning away results in departing from the faith, buying into the teachings of man so one does not look out of place in the religious world.

The church in the New Testament and the church in church history are not the same. They may have started out the same, but they turned into something different from one another. The church in the New Testament is a church with Jesus at its head, the foundation being Jesus and the words of the apostles. This means that the teachings of the church are to be, and only be, the teachings of the Lord and His designated servants. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11). Again, …. the household of God…built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone… (cf. Eph. 2:19-22).

Because of such dangers, leadership in the New Testament church is a crucial issue. Leadership that respects and insists on the Lord’s way, and only His way, is in prime position to promote the Lord’s way in a dark world. the leadership of which I speak is not a reference to preachers or elders, but to each New Testament saint who love the Lord. They must exercise leadership in this dark world, for many who are lost are looking to them for guidance.

A failure of leadership is disastrous. RT

Atonement Day

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On the DAY of ATONEMENT, in Leviticus 16, one reads of the seriousness of sin in the life of the nation (and individual) – from the Lord’s perspective. Sin in the life of a person, under the teachings of the Old Testament, was so serious it actually adversely affected one’s relationship with the Lord. If not taken seriously by the one who was guilty of sin, that one’s relationship with the Lord would be severed on Judgment Day. Can you envision that?! I can, and thus the words of Paul in 2 Cor. 5:11 become very real to a person like me. “We know what it means to fear the Lord, and so we try to persuade others” (Good News Bible).

It will do us well (spiritually) to reflect on that in our own lives today. I am afraid there are many who fail to understand the seriousness of sin in one’s personal life. It is deadly and damning. RT

Scholarly Lie

Letter to editor,

https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/40991/ Ohio State course reprimands white heterosexual masculinity

A class that promotes itself as scholarly and practical is taught at Ohio State, a class that teaches white heterosexual masculinity is worthy of reprimand, a class at Ohio State is clearly a liberal class to promote agenda-oriented immoral behavior. White heterosexual masculinity is a natural phenomenon that is not worthy of anything but acceptance. On the other hand, that which is worthy of reprimand will be those classes that teach agenda-oriented liberal immorality, such as this class promotes.

It is more than that, however. It is sexist and homosexual promoting. It is sexist because white heterosexual men are problematic, bullies and racists. It appears to be homosexual promoting as one can note by the required reading list.

A bold-face lie is propagated with this remark: “The goals of this course are both scholarly and practical.” If it was scholarly, then counter-points would be promoted equally; if practical, then proof would be presented on how the homosexual community could, naturally, perpetuate itself. Neither of these will occur, and thus a lie!

Chillicothe Gazette (1.28.2018)

EXPERIENCE

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“Experience is a safe light to walk by, and he is not a rash man who expects to succeed in [the] future from the same means which have secured it in times past” (Wendell Phillips). This almost seems to be contrary to good reason, but after a moment’s reflection, one can see the wisdom of this. What occurred in the past was in relation to the surrounding circumstances and the skill/ability that brought about the success. Future events will not have the same circumstances, and the skill/ability/wisdom of the one who has experience will also be different. Thus, one’s experience will modify and make use of that which has been learned to help when the times calls for it. This applies in the material world, and it applies in the spiritual world. RT

By Faith

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Well known atheist, Paul Davies, made a comment in 2007 that warrants repetition here. In an extended remark to the NY Times that scientists have to live by faith, he said: “Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith – namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws.”

This is a significant remark, in my view. More than once, he said this. The evolutionary dogma of many in the world is a a matter of doctrinal faith; thus, those scientist who challenge this faith are on the verge of being “change agents” and, consequently, apostatizing from the faith of atheistic evolutionary origins.

It seems to e this a great opportunity to see (debate) which one’s faith system is more credible. RT

Source of quote is from Jeff Miller in “Does God Exist?” Apologetics Press, Montgomery, AL, pp. 64-65 (2018)

LESSONS FROM EXODUS

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Circumstances in life, as dreary as they can be, are not a hindrance to the Lord’s working. The great servant Moses was found in a basket on the river.

Great men who serve the Lord are not always as one would think, that is, in a great position or with much going for him or her. Moses killed a man, hid the deed, but was found out.

The perceptions of the people are often wrong (5:20-21), and even the perception/interpretations of great servants like Moses is often wrong (5:22-23).

That which is impossible to man is not impossible to the Lord (6:6-9).

God hardening Pharaoh’s heart does not occur without Pharaoh first hardening his own heart (7:30).

Moses is called the meekest man on the earth (Numbers 12:3); to lead a massive group of people like he did, if he would have been anything but meek, he would have melted!

-With a position of significance (Moses) came responsibility and much affliction, much of it unfair (16:8). When the Lord set in place what He wanted done, it was not man’s option to alter anything of that which the Lord wanted done (25:40).

-One can’t presume on the Lord to have his, her, or some other’s sins forgiven; it is strictly up to the mercy of the Lord. The Lord is not obligated to do a single thing on our behalf, but it is His desire to give us all the He promised (32:34).

-Great men, like Aaron, can lead others into sin, as he allowed the Israelites to go unconstrained, and the Lord was prepared to call him to account for it, but for Moses’ petition to save him (cf. Deut. 9:20). RT