THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR ACTIONS! by Earl Sutton

 

In 1996 a grain ship, “Bright Field,” was heading down the Mississippi River near New Orleans, when it lost control, veered toward the shore and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. The impact demolished parts of the wharf and injured 116 people. According to the Coast Guard investigation, the ship’s owner and crew had failed to repair long-standing engine problems. This is a clear example of not doing what you should do and receiving the consequences of bad decisions.

            The Devil deceived Eve into thinking that there would be no consequences for eating the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:1-7). God said, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, ye shall not eat of it lest ye die” (v.3) The Devil said, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) Eve dilly-dallied with the temptation and contemplated the possibilities that the Devil had suggested and threw away all restrain and ate the fruit!  Why?  The Devil deceived her into thinking that there would be no consequences for sin.

            The Devil continues to lie to us today and tells our society that a little sin won’t hurt, a little indulgence is not a problem, a little transgression will never hurt anybody! The Devil tells us that we are only human and go ahead and enjoy sin. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” ( Prov. 13:15)

            Our society believes that it can live in disobedience to God’s will by practicing homosexuality and never suffer the consequences. The scriptures teach that there will be consequences for our actions. “Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth unto the spirit shall of the spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8) This basic principle applies to the physical world and spiritual realm as well. The word, “mocked” is a Greek word (mukterizete:) which means to turn one’s nose up at God. The point is that if a person sows to the flesh (homosexuality and sinful living) and turns up his nose at God, he shall go the way of all flesh, -- die and face the judgment of God where there will be consequences. (reap destruction – Gal. 6:8)

The scriptures emphasize the consequences of sin in other verses. Ezekiel said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ez. 18:4) Paul said, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23)  Over and over, again and again, the Bible under all circumstances, emphasizes that we reap what we sow and that sin is always followed by consequences.

            There is rebellion in the hearts and in the behavior of many people in our society today. In view of the fact that sin will always have consequences, what can we predict for the future? According to the basic law of sowing and reaping, the answer can best be given in the words of the prophet Hosea, “They sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hos. 8:7) There is one time of sowing (while alive), and there will be two times of reaping. We reap in this life and also reap beyond this life in the hereafter. Sin brings forth its consequences both here and hereafter.

            People may do things without realizing the consequences of their actions, but one day there is going to be an accounting! (Rev. 21:8)                                                                                                                                                                                           

ARE WOMEN TO KEEP SILENT IN THE CHURCH? by Earl Sutton

 

I Corinthians 14:26-40 throws a great deal of light upon the assembly of the early church. First, Paul is stressing order and dignity. Second, the primary purpose for worship is to bring glory to God, edify and teach His followers.       The subject is the place of tongues and prophecy in the church. The rules are given to control the assembly services.

          The guiding principle, spiritual gifts, is to be used in the church only to edify and teach people (v. 26). Speaking in tongues is to be limited, and there must be an interpreter (v. 27-28). Prophecy is to be limited and discerned (v. 29-33). Women are to keep silent in the church and are not to exercise the gift of tongues or prophecy in the church assembly (v. 34-35).

          It seems the Corinthian Christians had allowed women with the gift of tongues and/or prophecy to speak in the church worship assembly. It seems that they thought they had the right to modify God’s law laid out in Genesis 3:16. (Also, see I Timothy 2:11-14). In matters of the church, God has decreed that men must be the leaders.

          Paul teaches the rule for women in the assembly of the church, “Let the woman keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law” (v. 34). In the churches (en tais ekkl-siais) means in the formal assembly when the entire church is present. This command is very clear. No person has an excuse for misunderstanding it. Women are to subject themselves to men during the worship assembly.

          Women preachers and women taking leadership roles in the worship service fly in the face of this instruction. Certainly, this verse does not mean that women are never to be heard in the church. If women are never to speak, how could they sing or make a public confession. It is clear that Paul was attempting to correct women who were speaking in tongues or prophesying during the assembly and causing chaotic conditions. Also, some of the women were asking questions during the assembly and disrupting the speakers. For that situation, women were told to wait and ask their husband at home. Paul is telling them that they are not to exercise the gift of tongues or prophecy in the main assembly.

             In interpreting verses 34 and 35, we must keep in mind the context of I Corinthians 14. To lift these verses out of context and say that a woman cannot speak in a Bible class (which is an informal setting) violates scriptures. Paul’s point in this matter is because some women were competing with men for time to speak in tongues or prophesy. Paul is telling them to calm down and keep quiet to bring order to the church assembly. Verses 34 and 35 are directed both to the local problem of the Corinthians and to any other church where women or men were abusing the gift of tongues. Gifts of tongues and prophecies were for instruction and building up of the faith.

          It would be wrong to take these words of Paul out of the context for which they were written and make them a universal rule that disallows women from participating in a class discussion during Bible study. Paul’s exhortation to the women involves that they keep silent in the church worship assembly, for it was improper for a woman to speak in the worship assembly.

          Paul’s final charge concerning spiritual gifts involved that they desire earnestly to prophesy while not forbidding to speak in tongues. However, let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.

          The admonition to us is do not take a general principle and make it into an iron-clad rule for the church by taking the scriptures out of context.