THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 8-12-01
LESSON TITLE: SOCIALLY ACCEPTED SINS OF TODAY: "DANCING"
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
This morning we again want to begin by mentioning one of our sister congregations which help financially to make this program possible. Today, I would like to introduce you to the Greenfield Church of Christ in Greenfield, Missouri. We are happy to have these brethren involved in this work of our Lord. We also appreciate their like-desire to do God's will, as we together reach out to this area with the Gospel of Christ.
If you have opportunity, please take advantage of meeting with these brethren - even this morning. Today, they will assemble together for a Bible study at 10:00 a.m. This is followed by a worship assembly at 11:00. Another opportunity to worship is also offered at 6:00 on Sunday evenings. During the week this family also comes together at 7:00 on Wednesday evenings. I hope you are able to visit with this congregation very soon.
If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister brother David Cheek. Their phone number is 417-424-3303. We again thank this congregation for their continued support!
It's time to start our praise through song. Won't you join in the first song of the morning, as we together sing, "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be!"
(SONG # 1)
The Bible is full of examples and comments which show that many think they are right before God and acceptable - when really they are not proper before Him at all. I remember a verse in Matthew, in which our Lord deals with this very topic. Read with me from chapter 7, beginning in verse 21. There it says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
Notice in this reading that many believe they are right and proper before God, yet they are not. Here these followers were even doing things in the name of God and some things according to His will! However, it is obvious that they were not completely right and that they were lacking something, because the Lord said, "depart from me - you who practice lawlessness."
John understood this same idea, as is clear by his statement in 1 John 2:9. There we read, "He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now." Someone may think he is in the light and a good follower of Christ, yet if he hates his brother - John says this man is really in the darkness!
The point of these scriptures is to realize that it does matter what we do and say in this life! God judges all according to His will, just as we read above, the one "who does the will of My Father in heaven," is the one who is acceptable before God. In other words, doing what God wants in God's ways!
This idea can finally be seen in the book of Revelation, as we again find the words of our Lord recorded! In chapter 2, and verse 10 we read, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." True love for God and Christianity, depends on our willingness to do what God commands until the day we die. However, as we read here, it will be well worth the effort because we will receive the promised crown of life. So, are you giving your all to God and following His complete will as commanded?
Today we will again continue considering our series which is entitled, "Socially Accepted Sins Of Today!" Our specific lesson this morning will focus on the topic of "Dancing!" So stay with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "More About Jesus."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you for continuing with us this morning. We again have an opportunity to look into God's word and consider another socially accepted sin of today. I know that with many of the discussions that we've had that a lot of maybe the younger generation maybe and those who are middle-aged and maybe some of the older generations might have the concept that maybe these men are a bit old fogey or they're a bit out of date or they don't really know what's going on or what's happening. But I want to encourage you again to acknowledge or to recognize that everything we've presented has been presented directly out of scripture. And if you'll notice again that the things we have tried to present have been well-documented in scripture and according to scripture and furthermore as you notice they are documented, they are documented as things that God taught to those that pertain as Christians, in other words those that were striving to follow as those in Christ, those who were baptized believers. So again, these are things that do appeal to us, things that are of utmost importance because many of us especially those watching the program this morning are striving and have a great desire to do what the Lord would have us to do.
Well this morning we want to look at dancing, this ill of society, this ill that really we can look at because of really what the modern dance is all about. I know one of the first arguments that you always have or that always comes forth is, "Well you know I remember when I was growing up that I used to do the old barn dances," and this and that and... Well, we're not talking about barn dances today. We're not talking about some of maybe the old timey-type dancing that was done long ago by maybe those who were maybe even my ancestors or far back in previous times.
What we're talking about again here as we'll see in just a moment is the modern dance and really what it is all about. But if you'll notice with me and consider with me in the Old Testament, we also find that there were different types of dancing in the Old Testament. Often, there was dances used to entice men. There were women who would be brought out before kings and other rulers and they would dance in certain ways to have their way or to have some kind of a gift bestowed on them by some type of lascivious type of a dance that would then try to arouse them in some way. But on the other hand, we find that for instance when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea that it says they began to sing and dance. They began to praise God and they were excited because they were jumping up and down and they were glorifying Him and what had just happened as they had crossed on dry land and now the armies of Pharaoh had been crushed in the sea. So there were different types of dancing in the Old Testament. Some that seemed to have been done for the sake of God and to glorify God. Some done actually to do the same thing that many of our dances today do and that is to again to bring reproach against God or really to do those things which are contrary to His will.
Now, how do we understand that? Well, we understand that clearly because we can go to scripture and find out what the Bible has to say about these types of activities. But I might first of all again introduce us to this concept of the modern dance and I actually heard it said one time and I'll read a statement here where one said that, "The whole range of modern dance, it seems from the waltz and polka, to the tango and Charleston, the rumba are designed to somehow express lovemaking." Now I don't know if you've watched dancing as of recent, but it seems like more and more these gestures, even though these parts of old types of dances are being brought in, these gestures are being made again that really do seem as if someone is trying to emphasize body parts. Some are trying to move their body parts in such a way that would be unbecoming, that would not be fitting according to that person trying to design themselves after the law of God. I think that anyone who would use their wisdom that God has given them, in any sense would see clearly that the modern dance as you might turn on television today or that you might see at a club or something is really for one purpose and one purpose alone, and that is to insight, to encourage, to arouse in some way. Otherwise we would not see such types of movements where a man and a woman are coming together so closely and bumping one another in different ways. These things again obviously have to be considered as something that is not of God but really of the flesh.
Another thing we might read from is from the Hastings Encyclopedia, which is a religious and ethics type book. It says there on page 359, "The dancing of the modern ball room is a refined form of sexual stimulus." Now again the concept of pulling someone close. You know somebody says, "Well, okay maybe what you're saying about this more modern dance is right, but you know those old ballroom dances where you pull the gal up next to you close and you can feel her against you and you can feel the top of her body against the top of your body and you can put your hand maybe lower on her back and touch her in places and then maybe again have relations then maybe even on the floor that aren't proper really in a public sense." Well again, are these things proper? Or are they things that cause thoughts and feelings and bring forth things within us that really aren't proper and right unless it be for a husband and wife. I know that's another argument I often hear when I start talking about dancing. They say, "Well, is it wrong for me to dance with my wife?" Well, certainly not. God has given you the ability to have that desire and lust and have it fulfilled in your wife. If you and your wife want to turn on the radio and dance, you have every right to have those desires towards her as well as she has every right to have those desires toward you. However, now that's not a good argument really to say well just on a whole-scale type of dance. We're again talking about those who have not been given the right or the authority by what they're doing through scripture.
I want you to look with me at a few scriptures. Let's begin if you will in Galatians chapter 5. There we find in those verses that really it's dealing with two different things. First of all, being the works of the flesh and the works of the spirit, in other words, those things that are of God and are spiritual, that are right. And then those fruits or those works that are of the flesh, those things that are wrong. Well if you'll look there in chapter 5 around verses 19 through 21, you'll see that there are several words there that are used there. In the Old King James, we might find words like lasciviousness, the concepts of ludeness, the ideas of revelings, but then also in the New King James we find ideas of uncleanness, ludeness, again these words in the Greek that really have some reference to handling oneself in an improper way. Well, I want you to consider with me what these words meant in the original. What is it that this word "lasciviousness", this concept from the original language, what is it that it referred to? Well, if we were to look at a definition, we would find out that basically it means the improper handling of males and females. Another word that is often used there is an unchaste conduct which allows an individual to be incited in a lustful way, and these concepts of revelings were basically types of parties, parties where things such as dancing and other uncontrollable things were often taking place especially during New Testament times. What Paul was saying to the Galatians here is that these situation where people move their bodies in an improper way and they handled their bodies in an improper way in a setting that is improper, again are not according to the will of God. So as we begin to see here, these things are categorized as the work of the flesh. The same things, the concepts that are found there in the book of 1 Corinthians 6, the same ideas that are found in Ephesians chapter 5 where again we find things that are contrary to the word of God and "those that participate in such will not inherit the kingdom of God." Now again let's think about what's being talked about here. We're talking about a serious issue, a doctrinal teaching that when I take my body and I move it or I handle it in a way that causes others to somehow be affected, whether I am or not, then I am guilty of sin. So the Bible teaches against it and we must understand that truly that is something that we must believe. We must understand because we can read it for ourselves especially in the book of Galatians chapter 5.
What about some other principles we can apply here in truly understanding that dancing is not proper for the child of God? Well, first we see that in the scripture it says that an improper type of dancing is not right. In other words, like the modern dance. But what are some other ideas? What about that individual who might lust? The concept or the issue of a ludeness is mentioned here, and uncleanness, those things God on one hand, Satan on the other hand. Where does it fall? Where does this dancing that we see today fall? Well, we might consider what lust is all about because even Jesus gave us a very clear definition of how far lust would go or at least how far it was perceived by Him. As we might look in Matthew chapter 5 and verse 28. It says there in Matthew chapter 5 and verse 28, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman and lusts for her has already committed adultery in his heart." The one who looks at someone and lusts. Now, now if we have an individual here, a man who looks at a woman and he lusts just by looking at her, well then we find that that is sin. Why? Because he refers to it as adultery. Now let's say that that woman is putting herself in the situation where she is causing that lust, or maybe I should say it's by what she's not wearing. Maybe it's by the way she is moving her body or shaking her parts again as we referred to in some of our definitions. Maybe it's the way she's handling herself in an improper way that insights or encourages one to be aroused. Well, again here that is the exact problem that we are talking about and that lust that comes about forth. And then the first argument we have come up and I've had so many sisters and those in Christ mention this to me before, and even those outside of Christ, say, "Well, if that's something that happens, if he lusts after me that's his problem. If I am just having a good time and I'm just wearing these short shorts and I've got this skimpy top on he lusts after me, then that is really his problem." Well, is that what the Bible says? I don't think so. If you'll turn with me to the book of 1 Corinthians, then we'll find really what the Bible has to say there in chapter 8 about one who causes another to stumble. Here Paul was talking about a problem that some had with eating meat or doing those things that were really harming their conscience. And in chapter 8 if you'll notice there in verses 11 and following it says, "And because of your knowledge shall the weaker brother perish for whom Christ died, but when you thus sin against the brother and wound their weaker conscience, you sin against Christ." Paul therefore said in verse 13, "If food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat lest I would make him stumble." Here Paul went so far as to say that if my brother has a problem with eating meat, then I shouldn't do it in front of him. Why? Because if I cause him to stumble as we read in verse 12, then I'm not just sinning against him by hurting his conscience, I'm sinning against Christ, against God.
Well, if you look at our situation then we see the Bible does mention that improper handling of the body, improper dancing is not before God, is not from God, and is not acceptable by Him. We see now that lust is unacceptable. If you cause someone to lust you have sinned. If you cause them to stumble by the way... Now let's say that you are dressed properly and you're in the mall and somebody lusts after you, I would say, "Amen." What you said in your point that you can't do nothing about that, that may be very well true. But when again you put yourself by clothing or activity or movement again of yourself, then again you have found yourself causing someone else to stumble.
I'm going to also ask another question that often comes to my mind besides how I affect others and how it affects me and really what the Bible says about it. But what about our society? We find that even our society, what is it that generally dancing is associated around? When you go to a dance, is it usually just a fun and good and pure thing, or are there usually other things that are associated with dancing? I would guess that nine times out of ten you're going to find drinking, some types of carousing, the concepts of revelings as we've already mentioned here this morning. Again, it is what is associated. Is this something that is again to spiritually uplift, to encourage, to make better, to glorify, to praise God, or is it something again that somehow harms God and tears down or causes someone when he sees me involved in or doing it that will say surely this is not a child of God. Or maybe when I'm going into services on Sunday morning that I actually am perceived by an individual and he says, "Well, why is he going to church because of what I saw him doing the night before."
Well again, how is dancing perceived by God? I think we're finding out clearly that we're finding out that it's something that is unacceptable especially the way that people handle themselves in the modern dance.
Again in Romans chapter 12 and verse 12 we find here that points at the example as it says there, "As Christians we must continue steadfastly." We must continue working as God has asked us to work. We must continue setting an example that will truly allow people to know that we are of Him. Another verse that we don't have time to read is found in 1 John chapter 2 and verses 15 through 17 where it talks about a love of the world and those things of the world. It says that if we love God, we can't love the world. Again, we have to decide. Where do these things fall? Do they fall with God? Do they fall with the world? Are they something that glorifies God or are they something that really gives more benefit to the world?
There's another question I want to ask. What about Christ? Let's say that next time you go dancing that Jesus were with you? Would you be interested in doing it? Would you be interested in making the same type of moves if your partner was Christ? I don't think that most would be willing to or would want Him anywhere in sight when they participated in those things that Christ or those things that are contrary to Christ. That's really what it all boils down to. These young people who wear "What Would Jesus Do?" Think about that. Would He be in the situations you are? Would He set the example, cause others to stumble? You see it is our duty as Christians to not give place to the devil, to be sober and vigilant in all things, striving for righteousness. And when we consider again brethren and friends, the modern dance and the way that young people as well as middle-aged and older people handle themselves today, we must consider the dance and how it is perceived not only by ourselves, by scripture, but by others.
Are you ready and willing to stand up before God and the world and to meet the Lord as He comes again stating that dancing is completely acceptable, that you're not causing others to stumble or to fall and that actually yes, Christ would be there with you participating in such in this day and time? I don't find that in the New Testament. I don't find that the Lord was involved in such things and I think if we were to follow His example and the example of the New Testament writers and the apostles, we will also find ourselves not participating in these worldly things of the day, socially accepted sins contrary to God.
(SONG # 3 - "I Know Whom I Have Believed!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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May we all strive to handle our bodies more in a way that will glorify our God, rather than doing that which often brings reproach against Him.