THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 8-9-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE WORKS OF THE FLESH ARE: DANCING”
Good morning! Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God. We are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our God. Won’t you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to God, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory? Let’s begin our offering to God with a prayer!
Our first song of the morning talks about the Lighthouse of God, which illuminates and shines forth to help all those in need. We are truly blessed to have a God who is always there and ready to assist no matter how bad the storms get. Are you turning to God as the Rock of your life? So, let’s sing together the first song of the morning. Won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, “Let The Lower Lights Be Burning?”
(SONG # 1)
In Romans 6:17, we read, “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” Did you get all of that? God has delivered us from this world and darkness, but how? Through that form of doctrine which He has given us through His Word!
I also love the way that Paul put it to the Colossian church, when he said, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Aren’t these beautiful thoughts? Our God has loved us enough to give us a path out of darkness, that we might live in the light, where God is. And notice how He accomplished this, not doubt through the blessed gift of His Son, Jesus Christ – who died on the cross to redeem us from our sins. I think we often forget just how much our God has done for us.
So, what does all this show us? Well, the reality is we all struggle with sin. But God be thanked for there is a doctrine from Him that can deliver us. A doctrine, that if followed, which can save us from a dark and lost condition. A doctrine that brings us to the light of God. So we know what God has offered us that we might be saved, however, there is something that one must do if they are to get rid of sin in their lives and choose to turn completely toward God. Obviously we must follow God Will. So the question we need to ask this morning is are you following the Will of God? Are you obedient to the form of doctrine with all of your heart that God requires us to follow if we are to be found proper in His Sight!
This morning we will be continuing our series together entitled, “The Works Of The Flesh Are….” Our specific lesson of the day will deal with, “Dancing.” We hope you will stay with us for this important study from God’s Word.
As far as our speaker today, we are glad to have brother Brent Green with us again. Brother Brent is the minister for the Carthage Church of Christ. We thank him for being with us and we look forward to him leading our lesson thoughts of the day.
So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Green will lead us in our study. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Living By Faith.”
(SONG # 2)
By Brent Green
Good morning. We appreciate your willingness and desire to study God’s Word this morning as we again open the pages of this great book and study from it. The lesson is entitled: “Is It Okay For Christians To Dance?” Well the short answer is both yes and no. You may be thinking, “Well that’s not much of an answer.” Well when we open God’s Word we can see clearly what God has given to us. I want to consider some preliminary explanations as we might think about dancing in a general sense. Some might say, “Well everybody does that. It’s no big deal. Can the majority be wrong?”
We go back to the Old Testament in Exodus chapter 23 verse 2 where God encourages the children not to follow the crowd to do evil, and so we’ve got to pay attention and make sure that just because everybody is doing something doesn’t necessarily mean that it is right for us to do. So the majority isn’t necessarily right. Who determines what is right and wrong? Well we consider even as we open the pages of the Bible and that’s a simple question, “Who determines right and wrong?” We forgot today that God truly does exist, that He is real and that God is that determining factor for those things in our lives spiritually to do those things that are right and to not do those things that are wrong.
Romans chapter 14 there in verse 23, “Whatever is not of faith is sin.” Well, from where does faith come? Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” So that determining factor of what is right and wrong is that Word of God itself. So when we consider, “Is it right for a Christian to dance?” Let us consider from that great guidebook which God has given to us, all those things that pertain to life and to godliness. Let us follow that “guiding light which is the Word of God,” Psalm 119:105. Look from the pages to determine what we should be doing as Christians.
Now I want us to think as we begin this study of “Is It Right For a Christian To Dance?” In 1 John chapter 2 verse 15 the scriptures say, “Do not love the world or the things in the world for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world and the world is passing away and the lust of it, but he who does the Will of God abides forever.” So we’re reminded that there are things of the world, things that are wicked in nature, things that give themselves over to the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, those things that are going to pass away. But there are as well those things that will not pass away, those things that God has given to us that if we follow that which is right we as well can have a spiritual home in Heaven. That’s why this is such an important question because as we look around and people don’t seem to have a big deal with the dancing whatsoever, but an understanding from the Word of God so that we do not give ourselves to those things that are passing away in this life.
Well let’s define what it means to dance and so that we can continue this study and better understand from the scripture and is it right or wrong. Well dancing by definition if we were to look in Webster’s Dictionary and other modern dictionaries simply is something that when we move our body and our feet to a rhythmic motion and in a rhythmic way and many times that’s set to music. So is it inherently wrong to move the body in a rhythmic way and to move the feet in a rhythmic way set to music? Or when we are jumping up and down at a baseball game and cheering for the winning team, is that sinful? Well of course the answer is no. When we clap our hands or stomp our feet to a song, that’s moving our bodies in a rhythmic way, is that sinful? Well of course the answer is no. So is dancing by definition, is there anything inherently wrong with it? Well no there’s not. But what it comes down to is not only purpose and intent.
We can even see from the Old Testament and other places in the Word of God that God actually gives the exhortation that there is both a time for mourning and a time for dancing. There in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 and verse 4, he says, “A time to mourn and a time to dance.” There also in Psalm 30 and verse 11, it says, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing.” So we see the parallel or the counteraction between the times of mourning and the times of dancing. Well the parallel here is that dancing is a type of rejoicing.
We can think even to the New Testament there as the Prodigal Son came home to his father and as the older brother heard news or heard word rather that his younger brother had come home, he could hear the music and he could hear the dancing. He could hear the rejoicing of the father and all those that were around him that were so glad that this son came home. Well you can imagine the scene, the jumping up and down and the clapping of hands and the hugging and the embracing and the rejoicing that one that was lost has now come home.
Well we see that there is a time to mourn and a time to rejoice and there is nothing inherently wrong with jumping up and down with excitement for someone or something that was lost that has now been found. You can think of even times when soldiers would come home from the battlefield and you can see the news reports and you can see those families so excited they can barely contain themselves. Is there anything wrong with that? No! But we want to look even more further not to what is right to do, to rejoice, to jump up and down, and maybe there’s music at times like this during these times of rejoicing, but we want to look at the purpose and intent that is often added to such an activity as dancing, and that purpose and intent that is added that makes such dancing sinful.
So I want us to consider the dancing that we might do within our own homes as a husband and wife. We would come together as a husband and wife, and there are certain obligations that a husband has to a wife or a wife has to her husband to fulfill those sexual desires that can be properly fulfilled by the authority of God within that marriage. For a husband and wife in the privacy of their own home where no one else is around to see, can they engage in a slow dance? Could they engage in the Tango or the Waltz or whatever dance they chose? Well yes they could! Because for a man and a woman even if they were to arouse each other that would be proper for them to do within that marriage.
But then we begin to consider that that doesn’t take place in the privacy of the home, that such dances don’t only take place between a husband and a wife. Well they take place between maybe a boyfriend and a girlfriend. They take place between those that aren’t even married. They take place outside of the home where everyone can see. Well therein lies the problem when we take something that is proper and right within that marriage bond to do and we take it outside of that marriage bond and we do it out in the open and we do it out between those who are not married. Therein lies the problem when we see the purpose and intent is for sexual arousal and yet that’s taking place outside of that marriage bed. So the problem becomes the purpose and the intent of the dancing that is being done.
We can think of the New Testament there in Mark chapter 6 as Herod brings those before him at different times even one named Silomi who was actually the stepdaughter of this man, Herod, in Mark chapter 6. She comes and she dances before Herod and pleases him and he comes to the determination that he is going to give her whatever she desires. Well she is instructed by her mother to ask for the head of John the Baptist. Well does such type dancing reveal the conduct of a Christian? Does this type of dancing reveal the conduct of someone that is pure and holy before God? She danced to entice another man to then give her something that she desired. Well what did we see in the end? We see John the Baptist killed over such dancing. This lewdness, this provocative nature, this sexual arousal that is put into the dance that then makes it wrong outside of the context of a husband and a wife.
And so we think about this sexually arousing type of dancing. Should we be engaging in that as Christians? Should that be something that we do when we aren’t husband and wife and when we are not in our home together where others can see us and see the actions that we do and that might as well promote them to engage in lustful activities themselves? So we’ve got to think about what we’re doing. We’ve got to think about our actions and again don’t be led away by the majority to give in to things that are evil. Is dancing characteristic and again we’re talking about this lewd dancing, this moving the body in such a way so as to entice yourself, to entice your partner or even those around you who might be watching to entice within them whether mentally or physically some sort of sexual arousal. Is that characteristic of Christian behavior?
Well how are Christians supposed to act? Well we can find a whole number of verses. Galatians chapter 5, Christians are to bear that fruit of the Spirit, to promote those things and produce those good fruits that God has given to us. 1 Timothy chapter 4 verse 12, we are told as Christians to be examples in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit and faith and in purity. Among that list of things which Christians are to promote and things that are to be characteristic of a Christian’s life are conducts and purity. Well does lewd dancing promote those two things? “Christians are to be those who keep themselves unspotted from the world,” (James chapter 1 verse 27). “Christians are to be those,” in Romans chapter 12 and verse 2, “Who do not conform to this world.” Well what does that sound like? “Well everyone else is doing it. We can do it. It is no big deal. We can do that, too.” “Do not be conformed to this world (Romans 12) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Be set apart. Be different from the world.
Christian characteristics, that is the characteristics of Christian behavior, should also be defined by purity. 1 Timothy chapter 5 verse 22 simply says, “Keep yourself pure.” Be removed from that filth of this world.
There in 1 Peter chapter 2 Verse 9 that, “We as Christians are to be a holy nation, that we are to be those that live to do all things to give the glory unto God,” 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31.
So we can look at verse after verse, scripture after scripture that God tells us, He commands us, He encourages us, He exhorts us to be pure in our lives, to be different from the world, to stand out and be a holy nation before Him.
So let me ask you a few questions. Does lewd dancing, that is this dancing outside of the marriage bed, outside of the relationship out of a husband and a wife, this dancing that takes place outside of the home so that others can see, this lewd dancing, this moving the body in such a way so as to entice yourself and your partner or those watching you, does this lewd dancing promote Christian behavior? Is it that which promotes purity? Does it demonstrate that purity in the life of a Christian? Can moving your body in such a way somehow promote the cause and the doctrine of Jesus Christ? You see the answer to these questions are, “No!” How does this in any way demonstrate the characteristics that Christians should be showing in their lives? Does it illustrate the fruit of the spirit? Does it show you to be a part of that holy nation, someone that is set apart from that which is evil in this world? How can these movements glorify God? So again we ask ourselves, “Is dancing, this type of lewd dancing characteristic of Christian behavior?” Well does the Bible forbid such? You may say, “Well the scriptures never say, ‘Thou shall not dance,’ so we are allowed to do it.” Well in principle the Bible does forbid such lewdness and lewd behavior.
I want you to look with me at a verse in Matthew chapter 5. As Jesus not only reinstitues the commandments of marriage and those things that were to go along with it, he also reminds those about adultery and the great sin of seeking something for personal and sexual gratification outside of the marriage bed and reminds those as well here in Matthew chapter 5 of the gravity of making sure that we even consider what is going on in our heart. Matthew chapter 5 beginning in verse 27. Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” He says, “Look, it’s one thing to go outside of the marriage and commit adultery, but it’s just the same to look at another woman, to lust after her, and you have committed adultery with her already in your heart.” You see sins of the mind are still sins. Some will say, “You know we’re not actually stepping outside of the marriage bed. We’re not actually somehow physically having a relationship together that we should not. We are simply dancing together.” Well if that dancing leads to a sexual arousal whether physical or mental, you’ve done something that is a sin of the mind. You have lusted after someone else and caused yourself to sin against God.
We’ve got to be careful that we don’t entice those around us and again I’m stressing the point that whether we entice ourselves or our partners or those that are watching us to engage in sinful activity, to engage in sinful lust, and that’s why we’ve got to be careful with our activities that we don’t give ourselves over to such lewdness. Even by definition, lewdness is that in part at least defined by those unchaste movements of the body, those indecent bodily movements, those things that when we move our bodies in such a way we give ourselves over just like Silomi did there in Mark to dance in such a way as to promote or to provoke someone to think about something sexually. We’ve got to make sure that we stay away from that sinful and that sensual lustful dancing that clearly fits this definition of moving a body in an unchaste way.
“The kingdom of God shall not be inherited (Galatians chapter 5) by those that give themselves over to these works of the flesh.”
“We should not spend our time walking in lewdness,” 1 Peter chapter 4 verse 3.
We must be careful as Christians not to characterize ourselves by wickedness, by things that are evil, by giving ourselves over to the things of this world.
But yet some still have questions. As with every question we might ask, there are those rebuttals. There are those questions that will say, “Well what’s the big deal?” Well the Bible answers every single one of these questions. Some would say, “Well dancing is enjoyable.” If it is enjoyable, how can it be wrong? Well the sexual relationship between a husband and wife is very enjoyable, but it is enjoyable within that which God has authorized. If something is enjoyable, it doesn’t meant it is necessarily right.
“Dancing is good exercise.” Well there are a lot of things that are good exercise and again that sexual relationship between a husband and wife, good exercise, but it is authorized only within that marriage bed.
“Dancing expresses a natural God-given urge.” Well there are a lot of natural God-given urges, but that doesn’t mean we always fulfill every single one of them. Paul said there in 1 Corinthians 9, “I buffet my body,” or, “I bring my body into subjection daily.” He says that I don’t let my body tell me what to do. I tell my body what to do. I am in control.
Others come along and say, “Well dancing really doesn’t cause impure thoughts. Women might be able to say, “I’m just having a good time. I’m not really engaging in anything mentally or physically arousing.” Well men, think about things that are truly sexual every seven seconds. We’ve got to be careful to purify our minds and to purify our lives by not giving ourselves over to such impure thoughts. “
Dancing is okay if it is supervised,” some will come along and say. Well can you really supervise the thoughts or the minds? Hebrews chapter 4 reminds us that “God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
We’ve got to be careful as Christians to realize that we have an influence on the world around us. We should not put a stumbling block between others out there who might stumble as they would lust after us. We must not as well keep a stumbling block within our own minds and hearts, but to remove those things. Jesus says in very straightforward words, “It would be better to enter into Heaven maimed and lame and blind than to hold on to sin.” Christians, we cannot condone sin. We cannot involve ourselves in sin. We cannot give ourselves over to the lewd actions of dancing.
We’re told there in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 22 to “Abstain from every appearance of evil.” We must be very careful. We must be careful to the utmost importance to make sure that we do not give ourselves over to the things of this world.
There in Hebrews chapter 12 we’re given one final exhortation. As we might be bogged down by sin, as we might be strapped to this world, the Hebrew writer says, “Lay aside that sin and the weight that so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Christians, let us make sure that we do not do things that are wicked, but stand holy before God as those who are pure and upright in His sight and those who set a positive example in this world.
(SONG # 3 - “More About Jesus!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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Isn’t it wonderful to know that God has shown us the difference between walking in the light and darkness? May we never allow our own desires and wants to come before God, no matter how much we like them or how good they feel? Are you truly following God’s Will today?