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)                                                                                                                                                                                           

Kind of Music Authorized in Worship - Earl Sutton

Originally published on Sept. 6, 2014 in the weekly bulletin at the church of Christ at Elkins.

God's commandments are either generic or specific. He said, "Go preach the gospel" (Matt. 28:19), and "Go" is generic in that it allows for various methods of going such as walking, riding, flying.  On the other hand, there are specific instructions that specifically limits the authorization to what is included in that instruction.  For example, Noah was to "make the ark of gopher wood" (Gen. 6:14).  A certain kind of wood is specified, and Noah was authorized to use that kind of wood only!

     Christians are commanded to make music in their hearts (Ehp. 5:19).  Therefore, all types of mechanical instruments of music are eliminated!  In this text we are commanded to speak "one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord."

     The expression "making melody" is the Greek word, psallontes, a derivative of the Greek verb psallowhich occurs five times in the New Testament.  One time in James 5:13, two times in  I Cor. 14:15, and one time in Romans 15:9, it is translated "sing," and one time it is translated "making melody" in Eph. 5:19. Paul here commands us to psallo (Greek Lexicon defines this word, "to pluck, pull, cause to vibrate).  What did Paul mean?  He does not leave us to guess but says, "Sing and psallontes with your heart!  When a musician plays an instrument, he is "psalloing" that instrument!

     In this passage, Paul tells Christians to psallo the heart or make melody in the heart. Literal "psalloing" is plucking a literal object and anything that can be plucked.  Spiritual "psalloing" is the plucking of a spiritual object  --  the heart. When we psallo the heart in singing, we make melody with our hearts unto God!

      The word, psallo, in itself, does not include any particular instrument. It is not the instrument that makes the "psalloing"  --  it is the thing you do on the instrument! 

     If the word psallo in the New Testament included mechanical instruments, the only one who performs the act of "psalloing" is the one who plays the instrument!  In that case there is only one who obeys Paul's command to psallo, but he tells us all to psallo!  My friends, the word psallo does not teach mechanical instrumental music; but in the New Testament, it means to sing, and melody is made in the heart!

     When we come together to worship, we come to praise and please God and not to entertain ourselves with mechanical instruments!  We need to lay aside human practices in the realm of worship and be content and satisfied with the plain teachings of the New Testament and work and worship as it directs !  (Rev. 22:18-19)

                                                                                       -----  Earl Sutton