Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Lion Outside

"The sluggard says, 'There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets'" (Proverbs 22:13).

This is one of many verses in the book of Proverbs that talks about the sluggard. The sluggard is lazy. He doesn't want to do anything or fulfill his responsibilities. Instead, he makes excuses ("There is a lion outside"). Is it a legitimate excuse? Is there really a lion outside lying in wait for him? It doesn't matter. His slothfulness has made him believe in the possibility of a lion outside, therefore, just in case, he will decide to stay inside.

The sad thing is that we do the same thing today. We make excuses, legitimate or not, for not doing what we are responsible for, or what we can accomplish. Instead of making excuses, we ought to look for solutions to dealing with whatever obstacles we face.

"There is a lion outside." This was the sluggard's excuse. What should he have done? Find a solution. What possible solutions would there be for dealing with this problem? Either kill the lion or avoid the lion.

The same is true for us. Find a solution. Eliminate the problem or work around the problem.

There are many areas of life where we could apply this principle. But let's consider one that relates to our service to God -- sharing the gospel with others.

Do you avoid talking to someone about the gospel because you don't know what to say? Eliminate the problem: study, prepare for anticipated questions and responses. Or work around the problem: invite them to church services or a Bible study with you and a preacher or elder. But don't envision failure ("I will be killed in the streets") and then do nothing.

Look for solutions, not excuses. If "there is a lion outside," do something about it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Learning to be Idle

"At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention" (1 Timothy 5:13).

This verse comes during Paul's instruction regarding care for widows by the local church. He explained to Timothy why younger widows were not to be put on the list to receive continuing support. The danger is that they learn to be idle, which leads to other sins -- in this case, being gossips and busybodies.

King David is an example of one who fell into sin as a result of idleness. His sin involved Bathsheba. It began with lust, and proceeded to adultery, deception, getting Bathsheba's husband drunk, and ultimately arranging to have him killed in battle.

How did this happen to David? Notice the verse at the beginning of this account: "Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem" (2 Samuel 11:1).

In these times, military conflicts were led by kings. It was "the time when kings go out to battle." But did the king of Israel go out to battle? No! "David stayed at Jerusalem" while all the men of Israel went out to war. Since he was at home, and not where he should have been, what would he do to pass the time? Well, one of the things he did was sin with Bathsheba.

We need to be busy. We all have much to do. Paul instructs to make "the most of your time" (Ephesians 5:16). There is nothing wrong with taking a break to relax every once in a while. But there is so much we need to do, and much good that we can do beyond our fundamental responsibilities. Idleness prevents us from doing these things and opens the door for sin. Good is not accomplished and evil often takes its place. Let us guard ourselves from idleness so as not to give Satan any advantage.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Let Not the Church be Charged

"If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed" (1 Timothy 5:16, KJV).

This verse comes at the end of a section dealing with the care of certain widows. Paul had given Timothy instructions about which widows were to receive continual, ongoing support from the local church, and which ones were not. In the case of widows who had family to care for them, the church was not to be charged with their care.

The idea of the church not being charged with something can certainly extend in application beyond just the care of certain widows.

God has given the local church plenty of work to do without men trying to throw additional tasks and obligations upon it. The local church has been commissioned with the works of evangelism (1 Timothy 3:15; Acts 13:1-3) and edification (Ephesians 4:11-16). It can also provide temporary benevolence in certain situations to Christians (Acts 11:29; Romans 15:26), and continual benevolence to widows indeed as Paul discussed in 1 Timothy 5.

But many feel that it would be good to charge the church with other works: extending benevolence to non-Christians, providing recreation and common meals, offering services like secular education and daycare. The list could go on and on. The thing is, none of these are wrong in themselves. The problem is that God has not given them as responsibilities for the church.

Local churches need to focus their time, energies, and resources on the tasks that God has given -- evangelism, edification, and limited benevolence. There is far too much work to do in these areas for us to burden the church with anything else. Leave all the other "good works" to individuals and the institutions of men.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

PBT - July 2008

The July issue of Plain Bible Teaching is now online with the following articles:

  • Shortcuts to Bible Study by Andy Sochor
  • Money Matters by Andy Sochor
  • Doctrines of Demons by Andy Sochor
  • Do We Have Authority for a Church Building? by Andy Sochor
You can read the new articles by clicking on the link below. I hope you may find the new material helpful to you.

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