How Does the Recent Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same Sex Marriage Affect the Church?

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How Does the Recent Supreme Court Decision Regarding Same Sex Marriage Affect the Church?

Having been asked on a couple of occasions about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the Constitutional rights of same sex marriage and the decision’s legal effects on the Church, i thought it useful to write a brief article about the Church’s legal obligations toward same sex marriage and toward government and the Church’s spiritual obligations toward same sex marriage and toward God. May I say for the benefit of any who may read this article who are not members of the body of Christ that I hold and advocate no ill toward anyone as to the dignity of their person, being made in the image of Almighty God. I extend only a heart of love and compassion for the salvation of every man’s soul; however, may all who believe that two men or two women can join together as a married couple be kindly warned of the judgment to come (rom. 1:18-32; Ga 5:19-21; l Co.6:9,10). but then again, may all who believe that a man and woman can live together outside of a divinely sanctioned marriage also be kindly warned of the judgment to come.

To answer the question directly, the decision has no direct effect at this point on the Church as to the Church’s legal obligations toward same sex marriage. The Supreme Court’s decision in no way obligates any member of any Church to perform the ceremony of, to sanction the union between, or to acknowledge the validity of same sex marriage in religious or spiritual matters. The Church’s spiritual obligation toward God supersedes its legal obligation toward Government. As the law currently stands, the First Amendment of the Constitution of these United States still protects our Faith and the “free exercise thereof…” Be forewarned; however, that this landmark decision will have a dramatic effect indirectly, (which may of course consequentially bring to bear more direct effects in the future.) Indirectly the current decision will embolden assaults and attacks, both legally and socially. Don’t be surprised if some of us become targets. Also know, that such First Amendment protection may not always exist. This Court decision has put the Fourteenth Amendment, which grants equal protection on a collision course with the First Amendment, which grants freedom of religion – the very scenario of which certain civil liberties groups and social activists have dreamt. Sadly, more change will come. These changes may be in the form of increased regulation and stricter and more scrutinized registration requirements for Churches. The change may be in revoking tax-exempt status of faith-based organizations. The change may be in the enactment of “hate-speech” legislation, forbidding the targeting of any “group” or “class.”

Whatever form these changes take, we already know that the increasing ungodliness and immorality in the world will make the world less tolerant towards religion and the free exercise of religion. Religion is officially in the minority. too, darkness hates light (Jn.3:19-21; Jn. 15:18). Therefore, we should prepare our hearts and the convictions of our minds for the fact that we “must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29) and for what eventually lies ahead for all who live godly in Christ Jesus. Paul said, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Our true allegiance, however, belongs to Christ (Ga . 1:10) and our citizenship is in heaven (Phil.3:20). As strangers and pilgrims (lPe.2:11) we seek a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). The writer of Hebrews continues, “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb. 11:16) So beloved, we are “in this world” but we are not “of this world.” (Jn.17:15,16). As being “in this world” we have certain legal obligation to Government, but as being “not of this world” we have certain spiritual obligations toward God. As you see, the two don’t always agree and conflicts do arise. Jesus said to Pilate, “…my Kingdom is not of this world.” (Jn.18:36) Here are some conclusions and observations that I offer regarding these social changes, this Court Ruling, and Our duties to God and Man:

1. the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth – not government (l Tim. 3:15)
2. the Church is a “holy nation” – not the United States (lPe.2:9)

3. God rules in the Kingdoms of men – governments do not rule in the Kingdom of God (Jn.19:11; Dan. 5:21)

4. Christians are to live quiet and peaceable lives (l Tim. 2:2)

5. Christians are to pray for and honor Kings (l Tim. 2:2; lPe.2:17)
6. Christians are to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s (Mt. 22:21)

7. Christians are not to speak evil of dignitaries (2Pe.2:10,11)
8. Christians are to be subject to the powers that be (1 Pe.2: 13; Ro. 13:1)

9. Christians must obey God and not man ( Acts 5:29; Ga.1:10)
10. Christians are to let their light shine by doing good works (Mt..5: 16)

11. Christians are to reprove the works of darkness by preaching the truth in love (Eph.4:15; Eph.5:11)
12. Christians are the salt of the earth and light of the world (Mt. 5:13,14)

13. Christians should not give men occasion to speak evil (Tit 2:8)
14. Christians are not to strive but be gentle unto all men (2 Tim..2:24)

I can tell you how this court decision SHOULD affect us. This decision should awaken us to the reality of our spiritual war (2Co.10:3-5; Eph.6:11,12) in which we are engaged and alert us to prepare for hardness as good soldiers (2 Tim.2:3). May we all do as Paul admonished in saying “… cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:12-14). Be not shaken in your faith. Be courageous in your life. Let Peter’s admonition be heard: “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.Honor the king. “(1 Pe.2: 13- 17).May God bless his people wherever they are found.

Doug Hawkins

August 2015 Issue of Old Paths Advocate

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Making Good Decisions

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Many times in our lives we face decisions that will ultimately change the course of our lives. Whether it is choosing a college to attend,choosing a suitable place to raise a family, or even choosing the one we marry. There are decisions we make that alter the course of our lives. With these decisions we must take our time and choose the correct course of action to take; one that will not steer us away from our foremost duty of being right in Gods eyes.

We read in Genesis of a man named Lot. Lot had a dispute with his uncle and it came down to the two splitting up. Abraham told Lot in Gen. 13:9 “Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will take the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” The Bible then records that “Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere,” and “Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan;” (Gen. 13:10,11). Lot’s decision caused his family to be torn apart. He was more interested in material things, than spiritual things.

Later, Lot and his family had to be lead out of the city of Sodom by the angels (Gen 19:15,16). Lot argued with the angels on which way to flee (Gen. 19:17-22), and upon fleeing his wife was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back upon the city (Gen. 19:26). At the end of Gen. 19 another disaster comes upon Lot. His daughters wickedly devised in their hearts that they would have children by their father.

Lot’s whole life was changed because he rashly decided to pitch his tent toward Sodom. He made this decision because of what seemed pleasant. We can learn a valuable lesson from the life of Lot, in that there is great danger in choosing to do something just because it looks pleasant. This is especially true when it involves not only the future of ourselves, but also the future of our family, Prov. 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

God asks of all his children to make decisions based upon the truth of His revealed will and ask that they turn to Him for direction. Solomon said in Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy heart.” Here King Solomon tells us how to make sure that the decisions we make will be pleasing in Gods eyes; He says to trust in Him. We must not lean on our own understanding, but upon God’s infinite wisdom and knowledge.We must acknowledge God in all that we do, and with this God will direct our hearts. Do not take the first option even though is seems pleasant. Trust in God and lean on His understanding and we will make the right decisions concerning our lives, our family’s lives, and the lives of those around us. Tony Robbins said “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” The point is this; we need to take our time when we come down to making life altering decisions, because they will follow us till the day we die and will follow us into eternity. Ecc. 12:14 says “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.”

Sean Smith

Robes of White

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“Robes of White”
Revelation 7:13-14
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The Greek word for the English term godliness that is translated here is the term “eusebeia” which is defined as—piety,especially in the gospel scheme; godliness or holiness. In simple terms, the English word “godliness” is deemed an adjective in the English language and is synonymous with the word “god-likeness”. This means that a child of God is to conform himself to the teachings of the Almighty God. The word godliness occurs 16 different times in the New Testament. With that being said, I don’t have the space to discuss every use of the word in this article, yet I believe the way in which I have chosen to discuss this topic heremay seem like an unlikely approach but will be effective. I chose this passage in Revelation as our textual passage for this article, because I believe the topic of godliness can be powerfully understood in a metaphorical sense. For instance, a seemingly ugly caterpillar that etches along the ground with his many legs and grotesque body goes through the process of metamorphosis and is changed into a beautiful butterfly. In similar fashion, a metamorphosis occurs in the process of spiritual salvation. The stains of sin on our spiritual garments have made us detestable in the eyes of our Creator. By washing our robes in the blood of the Lamb, we can again become spiritually beautiful, having then been made pure and white. When I think about the color of white, it brings a sense of purity and cleanliness to my thoughts. My mother bought me a white Polo shirt one time, and I can remember that any time I wore that shirt, I strove to keep it clean. So it should be with our spiritual garment. In a literal sense, it doesn’t add up to think that washing a white garment in blood would cleanse it back to a state of purity. But that’s what makes this idea so important. In a metaphorical view, such as our textual passage uses, washing our spiritual garments in the redemptive blood of the Lamb, cleanses them from the stains of sin that are only seen by the Father’s eyes. Remember fellow Christians, stains are seen all too well on a white garment, and that’s what stands out to everybody and even more so to the Father. So do not defile your spiritual garment, but rather wash your robe in the blood of the Lamb so that the stains of sin can be cleansed and made new; then you will be worthy to walk with Jesus in white (Revelation 3:4).

Colby Culbertson

Legend, Lunatic, Liar, or Lord?

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Legend, Lunatic, Liar, or Lord?

​Many people have no clue what to do with Jesus Christ? Is He a legend, lunatic, liar, or Lord? C. S. Lewis said the following about Jesus Christ: “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.” However, one thing that C. S. Lewis and this author have in common is antagonism toward the popular idea that Jesus did exist, but He was only a good prophet and nothing more. The verses and thoughts that follow are given in opposition to this ludicrous fairy tale thought process.

​Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, upon putting his own hands in the resurrected Jesus’ pierced side exclaimed immediately, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn. 20:28). Thomas understood two things about Jesus Christ after walking with him for three years; Jesus was Thomas’ Lord (master) and almighty God on high. This is contrary to the already referenced idea that Jesus was simply a good prophet.

There are an overabundance of Bible verses that attest to the same thing Thomas believed with all his heart. Here are a few passages given for readers everywhere. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,” (Phil. 2:5-6). Jesus forgives sin in another account, to which the scribes correctly respond with, “Who can forgive sins but God?” (Mark 2:5-11). An incredible verse in which God is speaking to His Son, Jesus Christ, is in Psalms 45:6 which states, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” This verse in Psalms is also quoted in Hebrews 1:8. In Hebrews 1 the writer is showing how Jesus Christ is superior to angels. This should make any sincere reader suspicious about the idea that Jesus was nothing more than a good prophet. In Isaiah 44:6, God the Father says of Himself, “I am the first and the last.” Jesus Christ also says this of Himself in Rev. 1:17. Jesus could not say this if He was not also equal with God.

Space does not permit a full quotation of all the verses that prove the point of Jesus Christ as Lord and God, but here is an abridged list for further reading: Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1,14, 8:56-59, Romans 9:5, Colossians 2:9, 2 Peter 1:1, Matthew 1:23, and Hebrews 1:3. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but just as God’s grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9), so is this list.

Aaron Battey