Devotions

Monthly Archives: June, 2016

Run Away (Part 2)

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

Yesterday we dealt with the question “What is sexual sin.” Today, we will look at how to avoid it.   The Bible is very specific when it comes to dealing with the temptation of sin. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  These verses tell us to stand up against the devil and to resist the devil. When it comes to sexual sin, however, the Bible gives a different command.

 

I Corinthians 6:18 Flee Fornication.

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee youthful passions.

1 Corinthians 10:14 Flee from idolatry.

The Bible tells us to run away from sexual immorality and to be as far away from it as possible. In these situations, we are not big enough to stand up against it. John MacArthur gives five steps to avoiding sexual sin in his New Testament Commentary. First, he says that to maintain purity, we must avoid a look. Proverbs 6:25 says, “Do not let her capture you with her eyes.” Secondly, avoid flatter. Proverbs 5:3 says, “For the Lips of a forbidden woman drip honey and her speech is smoother than oil.”  Next, avoid thoughts. Proverbs 6:25 says, “Do not desire her beauty in your heart.”  The fourth point is to avoid rendezvous (Proverbs 7:7-12). Finally, avoid the house. Proverbs 7:25 says, “Her house is the way of Sheol going down to the chambers of death.”

Many times, sexual sins start with just a thought or a glance. We must guard ourselves, however, against our flesh and temptation. For many years, I have taught high school students about sexual sin. I am constantly amazed at the lack of accountability theses students have when it comes to sexual temptation. Whether it is with their phone or computers, many of them have a wide open door that leads to sexual sin. When the Bible tells us to flee fornication, I believe these are the types of things that we must actually be fleeing. Are there things in your life that are opening doors to these temptations? If so, learn to run away. Set up people who can keep you accountable for what you do and what you see.

Sexual sin affects us differently than other sins. Learn to run from these sins that can be so hurtful.

 

Jayson Combs
Family Pastor

Run Away! (Part 1)

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

The Bible says that sexual sin is different from all other sin. John MacArthur puts it like this when he says, “There is a sense in which sexual sin destroys a person like no other, because it is so intimate and entangling, corrupting on the deepest human level.”

The church in Corinth was a corrupt church. In verse 13, Paul quotes a common thought from Corinth, Food is meant for the stomach and stomach for the food.”  This is in reference to how the pagan culture of Corinth viewed sex. Just as our bodies need food, our bodies have the urge for sex. Since we have that urge, Paul agrees that we should be able to fulfill it. However, Paul continues with a vital question, saying, Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” Paul emphasizes here that God is the creator of sex and it is a good thing, but only under His plan.

With that being said there are two questions I would like to address. 1) What is sexual sin and 2) How do we defend ourselves against it?

The Bible uses two main words to describe sexual sin. First, there is adultery. Adultery is identified as a married person who has sexual relations outside of their marriage. The second word is fornication, which is directed at any person, married or unmarried, who sins sexually with their body.

Ephesians 5:3 says, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you.” Other translations say that there should not even be a hint of sexual sin named among us. As I have worked in the youth world for so many years, I have found that many ‘church kids’ think that only sex outside of marriage is wrong. To them, everything else is fine. When you study the Bible on sexual sin, however, it speaks of much more than just adultery. Jesus even says that if we think about sexual sin in our mind, we are sinning.

1 Thessalonians 4:4 says that we, as followers of Christ, must “know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” It also tells believers in Christ not to take what is not theirs. If we have a sexual relationship with one who is not our spouse we could be stealing something from a brother or sister in Christ. With teenagers, I ask them what they want their future spouse to be doing in their high school relationships. Then I encourage them to control their own body, as we will look more at tomorrow.

Since sexual sin can be so devastating, we must know what the Bible is talking about when it comes to sexual sin. Paul responded to the church in Corinth by saying we are God’s, and we should honor Him with our bodies. This must always be our goal; to honor Him in everything we do. (Part 2 tomorrow)

 

Jayson Combs
Family Pastor

Pig-Pen

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

There is a character in the Charlie Brown series named Pig-Pen. I am sure you will remember him because he is the boy who is always dirty. No matter what he does or where he goes, a cloud of dust and dirt follows him. On a few occasions in the comic strip, Pig-Pen actually tries to get clean. Yet every time he fails. In fact, at one point he is quoted as saying, I have “reached the point of no return.”

As I was studying chapter six of First Corinthians, verse eleven stuck out like a sore thumb. I could not help but think about how Christ has washed me clean. I just had to take some time to thank God for the forgiveness of sins. However, immediately, I was struck with memories of so many sins that I have committed. It is amazing how much of a battle we have with our flesh. Satan is so good at bringing guilt into our lives. He brings up the past so that we will dwell on it. I am so thankful the Lord reminds us repeatedly about the forgiveness of sin.

Revelation 1:5-6 reminds us that the Lord “loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.” Through the blood of Jesus, we have been washed from our sins and have freedom!  We never have to say that we have “reached the point of no return.” Unlike Pig-Pen, we are cleaned! Through Christ, we have been justified.  This is the act of being pronounced righteous, or “just if I’d never sinned.”

So the next time Satan brings up the sins of your past, remember your justification in Jesus Christ. Remember that you have been washed and that you stand righteous before the Almighty God because of your faith in Christ. Take time to pray today and thank God for that forgiveness.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (1 Corinthians 5:21).

 

Jayson Combs
Family Pastor

The Rules of the Game

“When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to the Law before the unrighteous instead of the saints. So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church?” (1 Corinthians 6:1 and 4)

My son loves games. Board games, card games, you name it. For better or for worse, he has developed the same competitive spirit as me. Basically, he hates to lose. The other night we were playing an amazing game of UNO when he decided to change the rules. He wanted to start the game with more cards. Then, he wanted to add his own cards to the game with their own specific directives. In summary, he did not want to play by the original rules but wanted to add his own rules when it would work out for his own benefit.

As followers of Christ, we have rules to follow.  These rules come from the all-knowing, all-powerful God, who is Truth. He is the one who decides what is right and what is wrong. All truth comes from Him. The Bible is God’s truth to us, and it gives us direction on how to live and how not to live. Whether we like it or not, we do not have the ability or the right to change the rules.

In the passages above, Paul gives the people of Corinth some specific truth that was revealed unto him from God. He tells the people of Corinth to stop using the worldly court systems for their grievances, cases, or disputes against other believers.

Why would God, through Paul, give this instruction? It is well known that the church in Corinth was a wreck. The believers were suing one another for their own benefit, and because it felt necessary in the moment. In reality, however, the people of Corinth were killing their own testimony. Rather, Phil 2:3 and 4 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

The truth given by Paul was not only for the people of Corinth but is also truth for our present church. As followers of God’s truth, we should be able to work through our issues, to humble ourselves and to look to the interests of others. Using the court means you have gone outside of God’s plan, believing your plan works better. Let’s remember that the world we live in today no longer follows God’s rules. Therefore, why do we think those who do not follow God’s direction will give us a better resolution? Who is actually benefitting?

If you are struggling with how to deal with a dispute in the church, I would suggest studying Matthew 18 and Romans 12.

 

Jayson Combs
Family Pastor

1 Corinthians 5:11-13

My wife and I are blessed with three young boys from the ages of 3-7. This means aside from the occasional vacation or grandparent sleep over that we have not had a decent night’s sleep in about eight years. I include pregnancy months because nobody ever warns you about that little marriage “gem.” One night (as it happens all too often) our youngest wakes up in the middle of the night screaming and crying. As the good father and husband that I am, I immediately jumped right up to attend to his need while allowing my wife to get some much-needed rest (please note sarcasm). As not to wake the two other boys sleeping in the same room and turn this into a real nightmare for myself, I leave the lights off as I enter the room. Now I know the layout of the room because I moved every piece of furniture in there (as I moved my music gear collection out several years ago… *deep sigh, looking heavenward, hands clasped, and repeating with broken voice… my music gear collection*).

Needless to say, at 2:00 am on a “you-name-it” night, with the lights off, I am a little disoriented. I made my way to the edge of his bed being very careful to sweep my feet along the wood floor shooing away toys when it happens again. Embedded into the heel of my foot is none other than the creative gift of Satan himself – a Lego. How could my favorite childhood toy become such a source of evil? This little piece of injection-molded plastic may as well be the tar coated nail sinking into Marv’s naked foot from “Home Alone.” The pain is unreal, but because I am a Christian and read my James chapter 3 devotion, I keep my mouth on lockdown.

Obviously, if I had turned the lights on, I would have seen the Lego, and thus avoided it! As a Christian, because of the illumination of the Holy Spirit, I can spot sin and identify it when I see it. Bear that illustration in mind as we read Paul’s words at the end of 1 Corinthians 5:11-13:  “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

If we have the ability to spot sin by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, then why in the world would we let our brother or sister in Christ step into it? Likewise, if we have spotted an obvious sin in him or her, why would we not make them aware of it and go about the means of correcting it? (Read Matthew 18 in tomorrow’s devotion). God gives us His Spirit to live in us; it is a tremendous gift to which we will be sealed with unto the day of redemption. How grievous would it be of us to ignore sin or make light of it? Sin is the very thing that is keeping us separated from fellowship with God at this very moment! Sin is the very thing that assures your death in this life! Sin is the very thing Christ died for on your behalf!

It happens all too often, rather than confront our brother or sister with the issue; we keep our mouths shut to “keep the peace.” We redirect our judgment to the unsaved because they are easier targets; we focus our attention on them because by doing so we think we are taking the focus from our “friends” and ourselves. The truth is, however, outsiders are not sealed with the Holy Spirit, which means that they cannot identify the very sins that they are actively engaged in. Without God shining His light on their sin, they will not see it, and without God shining His light on your sin, you would not see yours either.

The direction from Paul is clear: do not judge those who are outside of the faith, rather judge (or hold accountable) those inside the faith, and if they are unwilling to repent, they must be purged from among us. We cannot allow sin to continue unchallenged because it will be sure to lead to destruction. Remember the words of James, “Let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

 

Jason Duncan
Pastor’s Academy



Office: 8393 E. Holly Rd. Holly, MI 48442 | 248.328.0490 | info@theriverchurch.cc

Copyright © 2016 The River Church. All Rights Reserved.