How far will you go? What will you not do? What will you do? At what point will you do it? Where is the line drawn? The problem we have in many areas of our life is that our boundaries are ambiguous and subjective rather than clearly measurable and objective. We might say, or think, for example, if ________is too bad / gets too bad / gets much worse / etc. then I am going to get mad / do something about it / look at my options / have to think about quitting or leaving / etc. What problems with those kinds of statements can you see? How do we define “too bad” or “much worse”? Instead of those vaguely threatening type statements we need to say something more like: “If there is alcohol at the party I will not go / stay.” or “If there is nudity / cursing / sin glorified / etc. I will not go to that movie or watch that show.” or “If the school teaches evolution / homosexuality / etc. are right I will not let my children continue going to school there.” The building of boundaries is essential for Christians in many areas not just these 3 examples. What a difference it makes when you set a specific boundary that you will not cross!
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” In our society too many times people don’t stand anywhere even in time of comfort and convenience. How would they ever stand under difficult circumstances. There is also the old saying that the man who won’t stand for something will fall for anything. The Bible tells us to stand in multiple ways multiple times. We are told to be steadfast in 11 verses. We are told to stand or stand fast over 15 times. We are also told to hold fast or hold on another 10+ times. A big problem is knowing where to stand: What are the things that really matter? What is worth spending time, energy, and money fighting? What battlefield is worth dying on and which one should be abandoned? What is worth living for and what is worth dying for? What would be worth losing your soul over?
We quickly say, “nothing” to that last question, but if we do not draw lines with indelible ink we will find ourselves erasing lines and drawing new ones a little further away from God each time. God does not change, His law has not changed for 2000 years and won’t change as long as the Earth remains. We discussed in a Bible class recently just how much we have really compromised already. We may not have even realized it, but when a TV show that is supposedly for young children uses God’s name in vain there is a problem. Look at what people who consider themselves Christians accept now that they would not have 50 years ago and it is obvious, but when we look at this year versus last year we don’t see much difference. That is the way Satan works many times, gradually pushing us a little at a time until we are falling off the cliff. Television is one of the easiest to see the difference. 50 years ago: there were no homosexual characters, much less homosexual couples and kisses; adultery was unacceptable, divorce a rarity; there was some immodesty, but nothing compared to today; parents were smarter than their children and disobedience was corrected; there was respect for authority; violence was limited; there was almost no bad language; and although alcohol and cigarettes were present in some shows, no other drugs were used. Compare that with today’s shows and there is a stark contrast, but if we compare 2013 with 2012 it doesn’t seem any worse. In fact, some years it may even seem to get better than the year before.
Now consider the federal government’s authority and compare what is demanded now compared to 50, 100, or 200 years ago in this country. Quit looking at last month or last year, but use a wider lens to look at the direction our government has been moving overall from its founding until now. Watching videos like The Silencing of God or America’s Most Pressing Concern may help you see the incredible difference between the principles upon which this country was founded and the principles that are currently driving it away from God and toward destruction. When this country was founded, for example, the freedom of speech was included in the Bill of Rights along with other rights to freedoms like religion, bearing arms, not being searched without reason, etc. In fact, the first amendment in the Bill of Rights says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Compare that with recent laws that restrict speech and attempts to label the condemnation of certain sinful behaviors as hate speech that needs to be punished, or laws that make it more difficult to assemble, especially to protest the Government (like HR 347), without fear of reprisal.
How long will churches stand for what God says if they could be sued or if preachers and elders could be arrested for the things that are taught? How long will you continue to support the church if it stands against sin? What would cause you to decide to leave a congregation? The issue we are talking about is one of the reasons that many remain in a congregation that has slowly moved into apostasy. In the 1820's or 1950's it would have seemed unthinkable that congregations full of faithful Christians would ever have to worry about the problems of instrumental music, but 50-60 years after that in the 1870's-80's and now look what happened. It would have seemed impossible to most in the church that there would be a problem in the Lord’s church with women wanting to step outside their God-given roles and take on leadership positions even 30 years ago, but look where we are today. So even though we think the church will not give in on an issue like same-sex marriage, homosexual preachers, or any other controversial area we must realize that some will. What if it is the one where you are a member? What will you do? Will you stay or will you go? At what point will you say it has gone too far?
We will continue looking at this concept on an individual family level next time. - jp