"THE EPISTLE OF JAMES" Restoring Straying Saints (5:19-20)


Restoring Straying Saints (5:19-20)

1. As James comes to the close of his epistle, he stresses the
   importance of restoring those who wander from the truth:

   19  Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert
   him; 20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the
   error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a
   multitude of sins. (James 5)

2. Restoring straying saints is a responsibility given to ALL who are
   truly the children of God - cf. Ga 6:1-2; 1Th 5:14

3. Yet, it is a responsibility that is so easy to neglect, and in most
   cases IS neglected!

4. The purpose of this lesson is two-fold:
   a. To impress upon our minds the importance of engaging in this work
      of restoring straying saints
   b. To suggest how we should carry out this important work

[To appreciate the grave importance of restoring saints who have strayed,
consider this question:  "What is the condition of those who have
wandered from the truth?"]


      1. They are in danger of DEATH! - Jm 5:20
      2. One who has wandered from the truth has also wandered from the
         from the source of forgiveness - cf. 1Jn 1:6-7
      3. Separated from the blood of Christ to cleanse him of his sins,
         he is in danger of suffering the consequences of sin: DEATH!
         - cf. Ro 6:23

      1. "the latter end is worse for them than the beginning" 
          - cf. 2Pe 2:20-22
      2. That such a person is in danger of more serious punishment is
         stressed by Jesus in Lk 12:47-48

      1. "there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins"
         -- the blood of Christ is no longer available for him in this state!
      2. "but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation"
         -- all that remains is to be eternally lost in hell!
      3. "much worse punishment...will he be thought worthy"
         -- because such a person is trampling underfoot the Son of God,
            counting the blood of Jesus which had sanctified him a
            common thing, and is insulting the Spirit of grace!
      4. "the LORD will judge His people"
         -- for those who despise His mercy, they will face His righteous

      1. Such will be removed from His presence! - cf. Re 2:4-5
      2. He will expel such from His presence! - cf. Re 3:15-16

[When we truly understand the spiritual condition of our friends and 
loved ones who have strayed from the truth, it should move us to do something!

But how shall we carry out this responsibility?]


         a. Those who are producing the fruit of the Spirit in their
            own lives - cf. Ga 5:22-23
         b. Unqualified personnel need not apply for this work
            1) They might best work on themselves first - Mt 7:3-4
            2) Then they can help others - Mt 7:5
      2. A SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS - Ga 6:1
         a. We are engaged in delicate "soul surgery"
         b. This is not the time to misuse the "sword of the Spirit"!
         a. If we are not careful, we can easily fall into the same fault!
         b. As many do when they counsel those with marital problems
            without proper supervision
         a. Which involves an expense of time and energy to help the
            weak to overcome their faults
         b. Our responsibility is not fulfilled by simply pointing out
            our brother's faults!
      5. HUMILITY
         a. This is implied in Ga 6:3
         b. It is stated outright in 2Ti 2:24-26
         c. People will not accept correction or advice coming from an
            arrogant person!
         d. In many cases, we may need to confess our own sin of
            negligence first! (for not coming sooner)
         a. We must be able to teach and apply God's Word to the situation
         b. For it is important that they respond to GOD'S word, and not
            just to OUR views or opinions!
      7. PATIENCE (longsuffering) - 2Ti 2:24
         a. The same kind that we receive from God for our faults
         b. The same kind that Paul showed towards the church at Corinth
            - cf. 2Co 1:23-2:3
         c. Of course, if repentance is not forthcoming, we can wait for
            only so long - cf. 2Co 13:1-2
         a. Both at the time of rebuke - cf. 2Co 2:4
         b. And at the time of repentance - cf. 2Co 2:6-8

      1. The wrong procedures:
         a. Running around and talking to everyone but the person who
            needs to be corrected and restored!
         b. Preaching about these people from the pulpit at the very outset!
         c. Bringing it up at congregational business meetings at the
            very first!
      2. The proper procedure is outlined by Jesus in Mt 18:15-17
         a. Even though the sin may not be against you personally...
            1) This is still a good way to avoid misunderstanding
            2) This is still more likely to succeed
         b. Therefore...
            1) Go to the person first
            2) Then take others, if necessary
            3) Then tell it to the church, if necessary
            4) If he won't hear the church, withdraw any association 
               that might appear to give approval to their behavior
               - cf. 1Co 5:1-13; 2Th 3:6-15; Ro 16:17


1. The work of restoring or correcting saints may be unpleasant at 
   times, but it has the potential for great joy!
   a. Both in heaven:  "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in
      heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and
      nine just persons, which need no repentance." (Lk 15:7)
   b. And in our hearts:  "I have no greater joy than to hear that my
      children walk in truth." (3 Jo 4)

2. It comes down to this...
   a. Do we really love God?
   b. Do we really love our straying brethren?
   c. Read 1Jn 3:16-19, and substitute "spiritual goods" for 
      "world's goods" to answer our question

Brethren, let us love one another!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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How I Would Prove to a Jury that the Bible is True by Robert C. Veil, J.D.


How I Would Prove to a Jury that the Bible is True

by Robert C. Veil, J.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: A.P. auxiliary writer Robert Veil, Jr. formerly served as a district attorney for the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office, and previously maintained an active private law practice. He currently preaches in Martinsburg, West Virginia.]
The truthfulness of the Bible can be proven in much the same way that we prove cases to a jury every day. As a prosecutor, I had the responsibility of presenting numerous cases at trial, including a large number of jury trials. Working within the rules of evidence and procedure, I soon learned that juries are, for the most part, receptive to logical and reasonable arguments. They have an almost uncanny ability to hear cases presented and come to a fair verdict. They may not always get it right, but they usually do.
I also learned that the same type of logical arguments which are compelling to a jury can be formulated from the inspired biblical record. Proving the truthfulness of the Bible is no mysterious, incomprehensible exercise. It is done by the presentation of logical proof. And, at its most fundamental level, the Bible is an extremely logical and compelling book. It does not leave the reader depending upon mere hopes, wishes, and hunches. It is an evidentiary record (Hebrews 11:1).
The Bible claims to be the inspired Word of God. But in a secular culture of increasing ignorance and doubt, these claims are often rejected without investigation. Fewer and fewer, it would seem, are willing to accept the Bible’s claim that it is the infallible and absolute truth of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Corinthians 2:11-13). In teaching others how to be saved, we sometimes need to take a step back to a more basic question.
So, how would I prove to a jury that the Bible is true? I would do it the same way that I would prove any factual pattern or scenario. I would utilize the rules of evidence in presenting the case, and then emphasize the standards which the jury should apply in making a fair and correct decision based upon that evidence.
For example, it is commonly recognized in the various criminal justice systems of our land, that the jury can properly evaluate the credibility of witnesses. It can do this by considering such things as: (1) The witness’s opportunity to observe the things about which testimony was given; (2) The accuracy of the witness’s memory; (3) Whether the witness has a motive not to tell the truth; (4) Whether the witness has an interest in the outcome of the case; (5) Whether the witness’s testimony was consistent; (6) Whether the witness’s testimony was supported or contradicted by other evidence; and (7) Whether and to what extent the witness’s testimony in court differed from the statements made by the witness on any previous occasion (“3:10–Credibility…,” 1986).
Let us notice how these accepted standards can be applied in a specific Bible event: the empty tombActually, they can be applied in a similar fashion to most any major event recorded in the Bible. But we will use the incident involving the empty tomb because of its centrality to the gospel message, and because if it can be established, most of the other Bible events will readily fall into place.
First, we raise the question, who observed the empty tomb? Who are the witnesses? We recall that the Bible teaches, and good jurisprudence demands, that important matters must be established “at the mouth of two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16). Interestingly, the witnesses to the empty tomb more than satisfy this corroboration requirement. They are listed in the complimentary accounts of John, Matthew, Mark, and Luke as follows: Mary Magdalene, the “other” Mary, Mary the mother of James (that is, James the less, or Jacob), Salome, Joanna, and “other” women. Also of significance is the fact that there are actually two different “layers” of witnesses, since both John and Peter arrived at the scene as well.
These individuals are among the last people to see the Lord before He died. They had an excellent opportunity to observe the events immediately preceding His death, as well as His body after crucifixion. Most of them were in close proximity to Jesus throughout His intensive ministry, and they had an excellent opportunity to observe the facts in question.
Their memory has never been seriously questioned. There is not the slightest indication that any of them suffered from mental illness, delusional episodes, senility, or mental impairment of any kind. Both John and Peter went on to write detailed narratives and well-reasoned statements of doctrine and instruction. None of them would appear to have had any trouble recalling the events, and there is no indication that any of them ever deviated from their recollection of the empty tomb. If they had given conflicting reports due to failing memory, such would no doubt have been published broadly, but history records no such discrepancies.
Second, we cannot help but notice the details in the record. Details are signs of credibility. They tend to establish a witness’s opportunity to observe the events in question, and they show a carefulness typical of truthful testimony.
John details these events as occurring “on the first day of the week,” “early,” and “while it was yet dark” (John 20:1). Matthew’s account is consistent, but utilizes language which might be expected with a Jewish audience: “after the Sabbath.” He then provides an additional detail: “as the first day of the week began to dawn” (Matthew 28:1). Another mark of truthfulness is the fact that these accounts use language which at first glance appears to be contradictory. The contradiction disappears upon a realization that Matthew is framing the time with a Jewish mindset, as opposed to John’s description. But that realization may not be at first apparent, and if these accounts were falsified (developed in collusion), it is hard to understand why they would not have simply used the same language, rather than what at first seems inconsistent. Mark, reverting to a Gentile mindset, sets the time as “when the Sabbath was past” (Mark 16:1) and adds yet another detail: “very early on the first day of the week, when the sun was risen” (Mark 16:2). Again, one wonders why language was used, which at first seems contradictory, if this is a concocted account. Typically, when witnesses are falsifying a story, they try to present their accounts using identical language. This, then, becomes another mark of truthfulness, particularly when all three accounts are read together, which suggests that these events occurred after the Sun was risen, but just barely risen, in the early morning, while it was still largely dark. Such an understanding comports well with Luke’s detailed observations that the events occurred “on the first day of the week at early dawn” (Luke 24:1).
Thus, when all of these details are considered together, we get a consistent and complete picture of the time of these occurrences. Yet it reads like truthful testimony, each using slightly different wording, providing additional detail, seeming at first to be contradictory, but upon closer examination stating an accurate account.
If four witnesses had taken the stand in court and described an early-dawn occurrence as depicted here, it is difficult to imagine a more believable sequence of testimony. Had it been manufactured pursuant to some preconceived plot, it would have been much more uniform, but far less believable. The differences provide helpful details, and do not amount to contradictions or discrepancies in fact. On the contrary, they provide helpful and credible pieces of the overall picture. After reading and considering each of them, we get the confident conviction that we understand exactly what occurred.
There are a great many other details, which, if they are not truthful, are unexplainable. John tells us that, as between him and Peter, he arrived at the empty tomb first (John 20:4). Mark informs us that the women brought spices that they might “anoint him” (Mark 16:1), and Luke adds that the women brought spices which they themselves had prepared (Luke 24:1). Such details have the ring of truthfulness. Further, John advises us that he stooped and looked into the tomb (John 20:5). Mark actually provides details of the conversation the women had on their way to the tomb regarding who would roll away the stone (Mark 16:3). Luke offers the interesting detail that Peter ran to the tomb (Luke 24:12). Upon arrival, John tells us that he saw the linen cloths lying there (John 20:5), but Luke adds that Peter saw the linens by themselves (Luke 24:12). John agrees that Peter saw the linen cloths, but adds the telling fact that he saw a napkin separate from the cloths, “in a place by itself” (John 20:6-7). Why would such details be included if they were not true? Details provided in a witness’s testimony are marks of truthfulness, especially when they appear to serve no other purpose, because they end up establishing overall credibility of the narrative.
Third, we notice some things which might have been omitted in these accounts, had they been manufactured for some deceptive purpose. These are relatively small insertions which would not be necessary to advance a false narrative. For example, it is a consistent trait of human nature that people do not usually include “unflattering” details about themselves, especially if they are not necessary to the narrative. Mark provides the unflattering detail that the women did not speak to others after this occurrence out of simple fear (Mark 16:8). Indeed, the women are seen, not in some artificial and well-reasoned conspiracy, but in a completely believable state of confusion, failing to even consider who would roll away the mighty stone until they were well on their way to the tomb. Such details, however unflattering, are completely consistent with actual human events. They are typical of what people really do, not of what people say they do.
Mary’s pitiful, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid him” (John 20:2), so typical of an exasperated and unplanned predicament, shows that she did not at all comprehend what had really occurred in the resurrection of Christ. Such is an unflattering admission, written long after the events, which would have been corrected had it not been true.
Nor do the apostles escape this less-than-complimentary treatment. Luke concedes that the report of the women “seemed as idle talk” to the apostles, and admits very plainly that they did not believe them (Luke 24:11). If they can be avoided, people do not usually include details which make themselves look bad. John, for example, admits that after he had out run Peter to the tomb, he hesitated and did not enter. But Peter boldly did, a fact included by John himself which appears to be unaccounted for unless it is true. It is also stated that the apostles, who later had such a commendable understanding of God’s plan, at the time simply left the tomb and went to their own homes. Such behavior, being fully characteristic of confused and exhausted men, would be inexplicable were it not true. People making up a story do not usually include distasteful or disagreeable details about themselves.
Finally we notice the consistency in these accounts. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each describe the same event. Yet their language is quite dissimilar, far from a mere copy of each other. Such consistency is a mark of truthfulness. It has the indicia of reliability, and does not read like accounts which were deliberately manufactured to advance a false story. Each writer approaches the story from a different cultural background and expresses it in words and concepts consistent with his audience. The accounts are not contradictory but supplementary. By reading all of the narratives in full, one gets a complete understanding of what occurred. Likewise, reading only one or two narratives leaves questions and an incomplete perception. This suggests an over-arching Guide in these writings, a higher control, which guaranteed that all of the necessary information was included. It verifies the Bible claim that these writings are inspired by God.
Our faith is founded upon evidence (Hebrews 11:1). The evidence adduced from these credible witnesses is believable and compelling. It certainly proves the narrative beyond any reasonable doubt. If there is any remaining doubt, one might well ask how could a band of working-class fishermen and women “cook up” such a well-documented event? If they had lied, the accounts would not bear such marks of truthfulness and credibility. Further, if they had lied, they would have had to have maintained those lies consistently to their deaths. Believing such a thing would stretch credibility beyond its limits.
If I were trying this case before a jury, I would summarize the evidence we have and point out these standards which the jury should apply. When that is done, the conclusion becomes obvious: There is no reasonable and proper explanation, except that the events described in the Bible concerning the empty tomb are true.


“3:10–Credibility of Witnesses” (1986), Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions (MCPJI)(Baltimore, MD: MICPEL, Maryland State Bar Association, Inc.).

How Big Is God? by Branyon May, Ph.D.


How Big Is God?

by Branyon May, Ph.D.

[Editor’s Note: The following article was written by A.P. scientist Dr. May, who holds a B.S. degree in Physics from Angelo State University, as well as M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Astrophysics from the University of Alabama.]
As curious beings, we spend much time investigating the world around us and asking a multitude of questions. What role does man play on this incredible planet Earth? How are we to relate to our fellow man? Where can we explore that is deeper or higher? These questions and many others lead our thoughts to consider mankind’s place in the Universe. Humanity now numbers over seven billion living souls, and we exist together on a vast and diverse planet. The overwhelming immensity of the Universe leads to the question, “How big is God?”
This question really involves the relationship between two subjects: God and us. First, the concept of "big" enters the question from our amazement with how large His Creation really is, especially when compared to the scale of everyday items around us. As the focal point of God’s Creation, humanity physically occupies only a tiny enclave of space. Our planet orbits 93 million miles away from a single star, the Sun, which is so large that more than one million Earths could fit inside it. Yet our Sun is, at most, a medium sized star. The largest stars can fit over three billion of our Suns or 4 quadrillion Earths (that is a 4 followed by 15 zeros) inside their volumes (Levesque, et al., 2005). If our Sun was replaced by such a star, its size would encompass all the planetary orbits as far as Saturn.
Each year the Earth travels roughly 584 million miles as it orbits around the Sun at the incredible speed of 66,500 mph (“Earth Fact Sheet,” 2013). Our entire Solar System (Sun, Earth, planets and every other smaller object) is traveling together in an enormous orbit around the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Full of stars, gas, and dust, the Milky Way alone contains an estimated 100 billion stars, some smaller and some larger than our Sun but each one constituting a unique object with its own temperature, composition, and nature. Despite containing so many billions of stars, the Milky Way consists of far more empty space between objects. For instance, from our Sun to the very nearest star is a distance of 4.3 light years or 25.3 trillion miles (Tam, 1996). Even more incredible is the fact that despite our Milky Way galaxy being 100,000 light years in diameter or nearly 600 quadrillion miles (that is a 6 followed by 17 zeros), it is only a single, moderately sized galaxy in a Universe that contains, potentially, 100 billion other galaxies that are spaced so far apart that each one seems to be an island of stars in a vast sea of blackness.
When the question “How big is God?” is asked, we use the word “big” because we understand that all of these mind-boggling numbers, sizes, and distances must logically be the result of an even greater, more astounding Creator. The Bible tells us the following about His creative power:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth” (Psalm 33:6).
“He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name” (Psalm 147:4).
“He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His discretion” (Jeremiah 10:12).
“Come and see the works of God; He is awesome” (Psalm 66:5).
Concerning God’s very nature, though, the Bible tells us “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and that He is the “King eternal, immortal, invisible” (1 Timothy 1:17). These verses clearly tell us that God’s nature is spirit, and therefore He is not a star, nebula, galaxy, or physical person that we can see. God does not have a boundary, size, or extent (e.g., “big” or “small”). As such, “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18).
Even further there are no physical objects or spatial sizes that can describe God in an accurate fashion. Despite their magnitude and beauty, no nebula or galaxy can compare to God. Even the Universe in its immensity does not define God’s nature. The Bible conveys this exact thought when it states, “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?” (Isaiah 40:18). Being spirit, God is not contained within the Universe’s dimensions or measured by physical units. Instead He resides in eternity and exists in infinity. He fills “heaven and earth” (Jeremiah 23:24). Even though God is omnipresent (cf. 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7-10), filling the Universe and overseeing such an enormous Creation, He still inhabits the smallest and quietest of places. God is always present in our lives and will live in our hearts every day if we acknowledge Him and obey His will.


Levesque, Emily M. et al. (2005), “The Effective Temperature Scale of Galactic Red Supergiants: Cool, but Not As Cool As We Thought,” The Astrophysical Journal 628[2]:973–985.
“Earth Fact Sheet” (2013), NASA, http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/earthfact.html.
Tam, Kathryn (1996), “Distance to the Nearest Star,” http://hypertextbook.com/facts/KathrynTam.shtml.

Helping Souls Find the Truth by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Helping Souls Find the Truth

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Nothing will ever replace personal, face-to-face evangelism and Bible study. For thousands of years, God’s people have taught the lost and edified the saved while looking deeply into the eyes of precious souls, helping them see what God says is most important and pressing in life, and challenging them to become real and serious servants of the Savior. Simply put, the church of God’s dear Son should always invest a great amount of time, energy, and money in the teaching and preaching of the will of God in a fervent and personal way.
At the same time, the church of Christ must also realize the amazing opportunity that awaits her on the World Wide Web. According to InternetLive­Stats.com, more than 3.2 billion people around the world have access to the Internet. That number represents 40% of the world’s population, including 280 million users in the United States. Similar to how the Lord spoke to Paul saying, “I have many people” (potentially) in Corinth (Acts 18:10), He has even “many more people” who will potentially be open to the Truth that they find by the grace of God on the Internet.
Are you and the local congregation that you are a part of involved in an effective, active outreach and edifying ministry on the Internet? Have you considered helping those who have a long history of helping millions of souls that you or I will never personally be able to meet, much less teach? What would you think about helping a group of Christians who are involved in disseminating over 22 million electronic pages of biblically sound material a year? Would you like to be a part of a work that is freely “passing out” the equivalent of 62,671 Bible articles, books, and media selections every day? If so, then I humbly ask you to consider supporting the nonprofit work of Apologetics Press.
By the grace of God, in 2015 the Apologetics Press Web site received over 22,875,000 page views from individuals located in some 235 countries and territories worldwide. Only five years ago, the yearly page views at AP stood at just under five million. Though in that same time period (2010-2015), the number of Internet users worldwide increased by nearly 40%, the amount of Web traffic that ApologeticsPress.org received increased by 460%. Every minute 43.5 pages of electronic soul-enriching Bible material on the AP Web site is viewed. In other words, one electronic page on the AP site is seen somewhere around the world every 1.4 seconds. For this, we thank God and give Him all the glory.
We are humbled and overjoyed that God is providentially providing millions of people around the world opportunities to access the AP Web site and to receive logically and biblically sound answers to their questions. Consider the individual who has never heard of the AP site, but googles the Bible phrase “calling on the name of the Lord.” The very first item that appears (out of 68.6 million results) is an article on the AP Web site explaining the true, biblical meaning of the phrase (as of January 2016).


For many years, the staff of Apologetics Press has prayed that God would providentially put our materials into the hands of open, honest-hearted souls who are searching for serious answers to serious questions. Whether non-Christians investigating the Truth or Christians in search of faith-building materials, we pray that, if the Lord wills, He will use us and those who support us in this work to lead lost souls to Christ and to strengthen the Lord’s church.
So how can you help us in this cause? What could you do to assist us in this work? Below are a few ideas that we pray you will consider:
  • Bookmark our Web site and visit us when searching for answers to questions about God, Creation, the Bible, Jesus, Islam, evolution, the culture war, various doctrinal matters, etc.
  • Link to us on your personal Web site or blog.
  • Tell your friends about us.
  • Share relevant AP articles, audio, videos, etc. on your social media pages.
  • Ask the elders of your local congregation if they will link to us on your church Web site.
  • Pray that the Lord would use the AP site to His glory in helping others.
  • Last but not least, would you consider supporting us monthly or yearly in this work? With the financial help of faithful Christians, we believe we could do more and more work through apologeticspress.org. We would be honored and extremely grateful if you would consider assisting us in disseminating tens of thousands of Web pages of material everyday to individuals around the world. For more information, see /Donation.aspx or call 334-272-8558.

Jonah (Part 2) by Ben Fronczek


Jonah (Part 2)

Throughout the years the story of Jonah has been a favorite Bible story among both children and adults. In our last lesson we saw that Jonah was not a bad guy, rather he was a man of God, a famous prophet that served God in the northern kingdom of Israel. His fame became known when with God’s help he prophesied that Israel would win captured territory back from their enemies and then did. But God had another assignment for Jonah, and we find that he did not like it one bit. He was to go and warn the Ninevites that God was going punish and destroy them if they did not humble themselves and repent of their evil ways.
Jonah did not want to do this. They were not only an evil and blood thirsty people, they were also an enemy of the Jews, the very ones that would eventually wage war against Israel and carry the few survivors off into captivity. I read this past week where someone said sending Jonah to the Ninevites would have been like God sending a Jew to Berlin during WW 2 to tell Hitler to repent and humble himself before the Lord or he and his people would be destroyed.
Jonah knew God well enough to know that if by some chance Nineveh did repent, God was gracious enough to forgive them and save them from the pending doom that He had waiting for them.
Because of Jonah’s prejudice and hate for these people, he refused to go; he chose to rebel and disobey God, possibly hoping that God would forget about him or maybe send someone else.
Last week we left off in Chapter 1, verse 3 where Jonah had went down to the Mediterranean Sea to catch a boat to Tarshish which was in the complete opposite direction; 1500 miles away on the SW coast of Spain. It was a Phoenician port on the Atlantic Ocean.
Read Jonah 1:3-6  But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.””
Do you get the scene here? Jonah pays his fare gets on this ship which is about to leave to flee from the Lord. He gets on the boat, the boat sets out, Jonah heads down into the bowls of the ship, quiet and hidden away, finds a comfy spot and falls to sleep. In the mean time, while out to sea, we read that God sends a great wind and such a violent storm that the ship was in danger of breaking apart. It was probably being tossed around like cork and smashed by waves like never before. But Jonah was down in the hole snoring away.
It got so bad that even these seasoned sailor were afraid for their lives and cried out to their own God for help. If they were Phoenicians, they were probably worshippers of Baal. And then they decided to do the unthinkable; they began to throw their cargo off the ship. Why? They did this to lighten it so that it would not ride so low in the water. But this was their livelihood; transporting this stuff. I guess they figured the cargo would be no good anyway if the ship went down and they all drown trying to save it.
But through all this, Jonah kept snoring away. That is until the captain went down, found him and woke him up crying out, ‘Man how can you sleep. Get up and call on your God and maybe He’ll take notice and save us.’
A few thoughts for us here today:
First of all; I want you to see how our disobedience can affect others.  He was not only denying the Nineveh a chance for salvation, he was putting these men in danger, and he was being a horrible role model as a believer in YAHWEH.
Have you even had that happen, your family, or your friends suffer because of your disobedience; of course you have. It happens to us all. Like it or not, your sin will always have an effect on others. It like a stone being thrown into a peaceful calm pond sending ripples out in every directions.
The greatest gift we can give to one another is for us to be close and faithful to God. Our sin and disobedience can hut others emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. Be sure of this, it will have an effect on others.
And #2, Sometimes God sends a storm into our life to wake us up and break us from our own self-reliance. He may have to send you a storm to get your attention. There are two things that can truly humble us; our theology or what we know and believe about God, and 2nd, affliction.
Our theology should humble us , but most of us are hard headed. We are like Jonah and have to get tossed around a bit and thrown over the side of the boat and get completely swallowed by our trouble before we wake up.
God does not send storms just to be mean, or seek revenge on us for sinning, rather He loves us and wants us to do what is right. Do you feel like you are in a storm right now? Take a good look at yourself and your life; maybe God is trying to get you to open up your eyes and open up your heart to Him.
#3, Did you ever notice that there always seems to be a downward progression when we sin? Just like after Jonah rebelled he quite literally sank lower and lower. First to the bottom of the ship, then he sank deeper in the sea water after being thrown over and eventually wound up down in the belly of that great fish at the bottom of the sea before he came to his senses.
It’s like that with sin all too often.
●You steal a little and before you know it your morality goes down and you take more and more each time another occasion arises.
●Or a simple white lie may eventually progress downward to a habit of lying and deception.
●Drug addicts and dealers don’t start out trapped in that life style. No, some simply start out experimenting with less addictive drugs like marijuana with friends, or just want to make a few extra dollars.
●Vicious hostile murders don’t start out blood thirsty, rather somewhere along the way they may not have learned to forgive or extinguish their anger.
●And before you know it many of these people may not find themselves imprisoned in the belly of a whale surround by ribs for bars at the bottom of the sea, but rather they may find themselves down in a prison behind bars of steel, if not dead and buried.
It’s like that with most sin. If you are not careful you may find yourself on the way down a slippery tube to depravity.
If we sin and rebel against God the smartest and best thing we can do is make it right and get back on track right away (ASAP) before we find our self digressing even further.
#4, I also find it interesting that the normal reaction to danger and extreme fear among these pagan men is to seek divine intervention or help from God. Even today when people are in trouble, or extremely stressful situations, or in danger of losing their life, those who never go to church all of a sudden become religious. They turn to God in prayer, pleading that He would come and help or comfort them, but this is precisely what Jonah wanted to avoid. Jonah wanted to get away from God.
Well in their case, things don’t improve So they come up with a new plan; to cast lots to see if any one person is responsible for the calamity… maybe someone was under God’s curse. Read 1:7-10  Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)”
I guess it was a common practice back then to “cast lots” to determine who was responsible for some catastrophe (cf. John 19:24, 1 Sam. 14:36-42).
Casting lots was a divinely prescribed method of learning God’s will in Israel (e.g., Lev. 16:8-10; Num. 26:55-56; 33:54; 34:13; 36:2-3; Josh. 14:2; 15:1; 16:1).  However, as practiced by pagans, it was a more of a superstitious practice.
It would be the same as drawing straws or flipping a coin today. In ancient times, they used varying means to cast lots, depending on the place and local customs, flipping coins, polished sticks, cards, dice, and so on. In this case, God gave the sailors the correct answer to their request.
The lot falls to Jonah so they interrogate him asking the who, what, where, when and whys… Who are you? Who are your people? They asked him, ‘What he did there.’ And he let them know that He was a Hebrew who worships the Lord of heaven, the one who made the land and then sea.
And it goes on to say that this actually frightened the men (as if they weren’t scared all ready.) And so they asked him, “What have you done?” It says that they already knew that he was running from the Lord because for some reason he told them that all ready.
The Phoenicians thought of Baal as a sky god (cf. 1 Kings 18:24). It was the fact that Jonah’s God made “the sea” on which they traveled, as well as “the dry land,” that convinced the sailors that Jonah had done something very serious which frightened them. It was obvious to them that Jonah’s God was after him, and had sent the storm because He was displeased. When God selects someone for special service, that person cannot run and hide from Him.
So they ask Jonah what they should do to remedy the situation.
And rather than say ‘turn the boat around’, or tell them and God that he was sorry and would do what He had asked, he simple says, ‘Throw me overboard.’   In other words ‘ Just get rid of me and let me die’   Read 1:11-12  11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
How many times have you heard that from someone? “I rather die that do that.”
● “I rather die than forgive so and so.”
● “I rather Die on my feet than die on my knees.”
● “I rather die give that person anything.”
●I read someplace on line where Lady Gaga said, “I rather die than have my fans see me without a pair of heels on.”   Or really?
“I rather die than go there.”   Some people say these things hypothetically or just to make a point, but Jonah took it literally and would rather die that turn around and go preach to those Ninevites. So he said, “Throw me over the side of the boat.”
Next we see some real conversions take place. Read 1:13-16 13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.”   
The sailors were sincerely bothered by the idea of throwing this servant of God over the side of the boat just to let him drown. If the God Jonah spoke of was truly real they did not want to be guilty of killing him.
  • At first they did their best to row back to land, but that was a futile effort because the sea became even wilder than before.
  • Then they begin to pray to our Lord God and plead with Him and ask Him not to hold them accountable for killing an innocent man. If the Lord was really God they did not want to get Him angry at them.
  • So then, and only then do they take Jonah and throw him into the sea. And what happens next? As Jonah went down so to do the waves. The raging sea goes flat and calm. I’m sure none of them ever saw anything like that before. And then in VS 16 it says that they greatly feared the Lord… at that point they really knew Jonah was not lying, The Lord truly was real and awesome and powerful and in control, holding their very lives in His hands.
  • And so they decide to offer up a sacrifice right away and make vows to Him. I don’t know what they offered or what vows they made but I bet they promised to pay Him homage from that point on, thanking Him for sparing their lives.      I would also imaging the next time that they were in a Jewish port they probably asked some serious questions about our Lord and God. Maybe they even became proselyte Jews themselves. I would also imaging they told that amazing story where ever they travel until the end of their days.
 Lessons for today:
#1) Always remember,,, your obedience or disobedience will have some kind of positive or negative effect on others. Be careful!
#2) If you are in the midst of a storm or trial, it may be wise to look at your life and make sure you are not out of God’s will. We also need to remember that all storms or trials may not be the result of our own sin or disobedience; that’s what the whole story of Job was all about. He did not do anything wrong. Neither did Joseph or even Jesus, yet they had to endure trials that none of us want to experience. Sometimes the hardship or storm has a different purpose, or like in Joseph and Jesus’ case, it may be for the benefit of others. Only God truly know. But it is still wise to examine our self.
#3) We also need to remember that even what may seem like a small sin can lead us down a path we’d never though we go. If we do sin and recognize that it displeases God, we need to nip it in the bud, repent and get back on the right track before we finding our self doing something even worst. If this book teaches us anything, it’s that as long as we are still breathing, it’s never too late to repent, for our God is a forgiving God when it done in true humility.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com





By Dub McClish

In the beginning God created mankind, made them “male and female,” and commanded them to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Gen. 1:27–28). God further inspired Moses to state His intent in this regard: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (2:24). Moses recorded the beginning of their fulfillment of God’s first command to them in simple andstraightforward terms: “And the man knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain” (4:1a; cf. v. 25). That Adam “knew” Eve is a reference to their sexual union, the means by which they began the perpetual process offruitfulness and multiplication of humankind God had ordered.
The foregoing statements make it evident that God created us with sexual instinct and appetite and with the ability to fulfill it. It is no less evident that He expected us to fulfill it. In fact, Adam and Eve could not have obeyed God’s command to reproduce and populate the earth apart from their acting upon this instinct and appetite. God made this instinct extremely strong, surpassed only by that of self-preservation, involving the desire/need for food and drink. In His infinite wisdom, He knew that the sexual appetite must be regulated and controlled for it to be a blessing rather than a curse. God thus ordained the fulfillment of the sexual instinct, but only within His own clearly stated benevolent limitations. Not only is sexual fulfillment therefore not innately sinful, evil, or shameful; when engaged in within God’s limitation for it, it is guiltless, pure, and honorable.


God’s Boundary for Sexual Fulfillment

The terms, fornication and adultery, which we will later define more specifically, describe sexual activity outside the boundary God ordained for it. This boundary must therefore be included in any discussion of these terms. Were there no such limitation, there would be no such thing as fornication and adultery, for “…where there is no law, neither is there transgression” (Rom. 4:15). God has issued a dictum on this matter, and, as will become clear, those who ignore, reject, and disobey it become thereby guilty of fornication and/or adultery and subject to the wrath of a holy and just God.
The only sphere of innocent sexual intercourse involves three elements:
1.             It must be between a man and a woman (Gen. 1:27–28; 2:24; Mat. 19:6–9; 1 Cor. 7:2; et al.)
2.             It must be between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Cor. 7:2)
3.             It must be between a man and a woman God authorizes to be married (Mat. 19:6)
Jesus stated that these limitations were God’s will in the first century, that they had been so “from the beginning” (Gen. 2:24), and, by implication, that they would always be so:
And he answered and said, Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh? So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Mat. 19:4–6).
Jesus employed both fornication and adultery, in the same context:
And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery (v. 9).
In a companion statement in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had previously used these same two terms in discussing marriage and divorce:
But I say unto you, that every one that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress: and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery (Mat. 5:32).
The two dozen or so loopholes that men have devised in an effort to evade New Testament teaching on marriage, divorce, and remarriage are largely traceable to attempts to justify relationships that involve fornication and/or adultery. Let us now explore the meaning of these terms.

Defining the Terms


Our English word, fornication, derives from the Latin term, fornix or fornicis, meaning an archway or a “vaulted chamber.”A building of such description in ancient Rome was a venue for prostitutes and became a euphemism for whoredom or a brothel (Online Etymology). The Greek word rendered “fornication” in the King James and American Standard versions (1901) is porneia (and four cognates). Of the fifty-six times this word-family appears in the New Testament, porneia occurs most frequently (twenty-six times).
Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich define porneia as “prostitution, unchastity, fornication, of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse” (699). Kittel defines porneia in the New Testament as “all extra-marital and unnatural intercourse” (6:590). Thayer’s definition of porneia is “…illicit sexual intercourse in general” (532). Other Bible versions variously render this term as “sexual immorality” (NKJV), “unchastity” (RSV, TCNT), and “marital unfaithfulness” (NIV). Porneia is obviously a comprehensive term that embraces every sort of sexual union besides that which God has ordained within Scriptural marriage (i.e., sodomy, lesbianism, incest, bestiality, prostitution, adultery).



Adultery in the English language traces back to the A.D. fourteenth century, when it was brought over from the Latin term, adulterare, meaning to corrupt (Dictionary.com). Adultery translates the Greek noun, moicheia.Kittel defines this word simply as “adultery, illicit intercourse” (4:730). While Thayer defines moicheia as “adultery,” he defines the cognate verb, moichao as “to have unlawful intercourse with another’s wife” (417). It is telling that Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich do not define any of this family of Greek terms except by the words, adulteryadultereradulteresscommit adultery, and adulterous (527–28), omitting any description of that which constitutes adultery. Their doing so presumes that all English readers will be aware that these terms relate to physical sexual infidelity regarding one’s spouse. W.E. Vine defines the noun, moichos, as denoting one ”who has unlawful intercourse with the spouse of another” (14).
The latter day postulation that adultery refers only to “breaking the covenant” of marriage rather than to any sexual activity is merely a paltry, juvenile attempt to circumvent some of the most plain, literal, and explicit doctrine of the Son of God and His inspired writers regarding marriage, divorce, and remarriage. In spite of this fact, some brethren (e.g., the late John Edwards, Olan Hicks, Truman Scott [instructor at Sunset International Bible Institute], et al.), have touted and/or continue to tout this demonic error. Such preposterous theorizing is born of sheer convenience and flies in the face of history and scholarship, both ancient and modern.
Fornication, then, is a broad term that embraces every form of sexual prohibition and deviance, whatever one’s marital status, while adultery relates particularly to sexual congress of a married person with another person besides one’s own spouse, thus representing a betrayal of one’s marriage vows. While all adultery constitutes fornication, not all fornication is adultery. Fornication may relate to marriage, but adultery particularly does so. Both terms are also used sparingly in a metaphorical sense to describe unfaithfulness to the Christ (e.g., “fornication” [Rev. 2:14; 17:2; et al.]; “adultery” [Mat. 12:39; Jam. 4:4]).


The Corinthianized American Culture

When Paul walked into Corinth in about A.D. 51, he entered a city known throughout the civilized world for its moral corruption. A hint of this moral turpitude is evident in his statement in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11:
Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, …And such were some of you….
This pagan metropolis was renowned for its temple to the goddess, Aphrodite, allegedly hosting a thousand or more temple prostitutes. From Paul’s description, it was obviously a center of sodomy, as well. Even in an amoral pagan world, Corinth was so distinguished for its debauchery and lewdness that men made a verb of its name. To “Corinthianize” meant to corrupt and debase.
Our great nation has become “Corinthianized” to a substantial degree over the past fifty years. To identify the principal source of this moral declension, we must go back to the 19th century English naturalist, Charles Darwin. His On the Origin of the Species (1859) gave base men an excuse to deny the existence of a Creator to Whom they must give account for their behavior, including their sexual conduct. Darwin’s theories created a new religion whose devotees have prostrated themselves before a new trinity of nature, accident, and vast eons. They could now replicate the “morals” of animals, since, after all, that is all we are—mere advanced apes. The adoption of Darwin’s God-dismissive theories by the immense majority of the scientific community in our nation meant that this God-denying doctrine would find its way into the university curricula and then into public school textbooks at every level. The influence of evolutionary theory on sexual mores has been undeniably powerful and widespread.
Numerous and extensive factors coalesced in the 1960s, causing drastic changes in attitudes toward sexual behavior and producing a well-named “sexual revolution.” Perhaps we may profit by noting some of the more specific factors of this phenomenon.
The influence of Alfred Charles Kinsey can hardly be overemphasized. This biologist “researcher” at Indiana University is credited with being the “father of sexology” (i.e., the study of human sexual behavior). He published his first book on the subject, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, in 1948, and followed it in 1953 with Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. Both books soared to the top of the best-seller lists. Only years later was it revealedthat he got some of his statistics on sexual responses of little boys from a serial pedophile, whose identity he shielded, allowing him to continue his wicked and criminal activity. He derived his data from more than mere interviews, however. According to Wikipedia:
Kinsey’s sex research went beyond theory and interview to include observation of and participation in sexual activity, including homosexual activity, with co-workers and others.… Kinsey filmed sexual acts which included co-workers in the attic of his home as part of his research…to ensure the film’s secrecy, which would have caused a scandal had it become public knowledge (Wikipedia).
Kinsey has been unmasked in recent years as not only a fraud in his “research,” but an obsessive pervert who hid behind an academic facade to live out his own sexual fantasies.
Nevertheless, the influence of his books was major in moving sexual activity from the marital bed to the anywhere with anyone anytime. He gave our countrymen an excuse (if not actual encouragement) to experiment with “guiltless” sex as mere recreation. Perhaps, more than any other one person, he prepared the way for the “sexual revolution.”
Decades before Kinsey’s degeneracy, however, theological modernism and liberalism had been churning out an ever-increasing number of faithless graduates from their sectarian seminaries. By the middle part of the century (post-World War II), the effects of these pulpiteers and professors began to take a major toll on the moral fiber of the nation. From its inception the vast majority of its citizens had accepted the Bible as God’s standard of moral behavior. As more and more churchgoers heard their “pastors” from Sunday to Sunday cast doubt on the Bible’s inspiration and infallibility, God’s Word became less and less influential on national behavior in general, and on morality in particular.
Every day of my public school years through 1953 began with a homeroom devotional period, including a Bible reading and prayer. These were outlawed by a Supreme Court ruling in 1962. Coincidentally (or perhaps, not), “values-neutral” “sexuality education” courses began finding their way into the public high schools in 1963, teaching the fundamentals of sexual performance, but allowing children to reach their own conclusions about sexual perimeters. The premise of these courses was that “teenagers are going to be sexually active anyway,” so the main concern of the curriculum was to instruct in “safe sex.” Even a dummy way down on the dummy scale can deduce that plugging in classes on sexual performance and unplugging prayer and Bible reading is a bad formula for strengthening and elevating moral standards in young people. The tipping point of the moral decline of our nation can undeniably be dated from the time of these events, and I suspect they were a prime cause of the decline as well.
Millions of young post-World War II parents listened more to the radical leftist pediatrician, Dr. Benjamin Spock, and his anti-discipline, instant-gratification advice for the rearing of children than they did to inspired wisdom. The pampered children of those indulgent and permissive parents reached their late teens in the mid-1960s. Many of these were ripe for the radical anti-establishment agenda of such hard-core rascals as Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, and Bill Ayers with their slogans of “If it feels good, do it,” and “Kill your parents.” Such influences produced the maelstrom of radical anti-war riots on dozens of college campuses and in many cities. (Ayers, mentioned above, close associate of President Obama in Chicago, was a notorious leader in such revolutionary activities.)
The general aim of these feckless punks was the fomenting of sufficient societal chaos and violence to overthrow former standards of civil democratic order, especially moral standards. In this same time frame, Hugh Hefner introduced his “playboy philosophy” and magazine, paving the way for public tolerance, if not glorification of pornography and its frequent offspring, fornication. While these civil and moral upheavals were occurring, social, theological, and political liberals were preaching their “gospel” of tolerance and non-judgmentalism regarding increasing sexual promiscuity.
Predictably, the entertainment industry began to relax notably its former standards (such as they were) in the 1960s. Scenes, words, and themes that formerly were not permitted on the big screen gradually began to appear, most of them involving sexual liberties. Lyrics in rock and roll songs picked up the same theme. Though they would seem mild compared with subsequent ones, they were risqué and shocking at the time. AM radio in those days still was mostly disc jockeys playing records between hourly news breaks. In the 1960s and 1970s, I called radio stations several times and shamed them for playing songs with very suggestive lyrics.
Television was bound to follow Hollywood. With but few exceptions, its programming since the mid-1970s has been characterized by ever-increasing levels of indecency, much of which has been specifically aimed at sexual stimulation and titillation. The Internet has made pornography and even arranging rendezvous for fornicators available at the mere click of a computer mouse. The relaxing of heterosexual moral standards has given opportunity for sodomites and lesbians to make great headway in their campaign to earn general acceptance for their abominations.
Atheists, Humanists, and Secularists, believing that physical life is all there is, are all in favor of the “free-love” attitude and are reveling in its acceptance. The odious American Civil Liberties Union has been a major force in defending the grossest forms of moral turpitude and in seeking to repress Biblical influence on every hand. The sexual permissiveness these and other factors have produced threatens to drown our nation in a flood of moral filth. America has been Corinthianized.


Some Consequences of the Sexual Revolution

No one can fully predict all of the consequences this decline of decency will eventually yield. It has the potential to bring our nation literally into bondage. The observable results already are many and damaging.
Sex has been degraded, devalued, and dirtied. The Hebrews writer expressed the Divine will when he stated: “Let marriage be had in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled” (Heb. 13:4a). This statement implies that to employ “the bed” (a literary figure for the sexual union) outside of marriage defiles it. Ungodly and undisciplined folk have dragged it out of the marital bedroom, the sphere of God’s honorable limitation for it.
They have reduced sex to the level of barnyard and alley cat behavior (with apologies to the animals in many ways). Rather than its being the God-ordained lovely and pure relationship between one woman and one man who become one flesh “as long as they both shall live,” to millions the sexual union has become merely another form of casual recreation with no more shame, mystery, or privacy attached to it than a game of “Trivial Pursuit” or “Monopoly.” It is something about which to make jokes and laugh.
The degradation of sex and the corresponding promotion of adultery and fornication by its illicit practice have dealt extensive damage to God-ordained marriage, home, and family. All of the foregoing elements of the sexual revolution have made it much easier (yea, given encouragement) for spouses to stray from their marital vows. “No-fault” divorce laws (that down-play the seriousness of adultery) began appearing in the early 1960s. These laws made it far more convenient for husbands and wives to go their separate ways when they found that “certain other” one they just must have. Divorce ceased to carry the shame that had been connected with it for so long. Non-marital and extra-marital sexual encounters have now become matters of little concern to the masses. It is common practice for a couple to “live together” openly, sometimes for years, and produce children before “going through the motions” of a marriage ceremony—if they even bother. They are even praised for being so “broadminded” and such is glorified by the entertainment industry. It is now all but impossible to get a divorce on the stated ground ofadultery, a symptom of society’s moral corruption.
Although unstated, fornication (including adultery) is the cause of thousands of divorces each year.
The widespread sin of fornication has caused sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to reach alarming levels. According to one Website: “One in five people in the United States has an STD, two-thirds of which occur in people 25 years old or younger. One in four new STD infections occur in teenagers” (Livestrong). STDs are preventable diseases and are all but non-existent among those who remain chaste until marriage and those who are married and remain faithful to their wedding vows made to and with one spouse.
Can there be any doubt about the role the sexual revolution played in the shameful Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 that made it “open season” on babies in the womb (and sometimes more out of the womb than in it)? Abortion is generally little more than a cruel and depraved means of birth control. It is the ultimate “safety net” for participants in “affairs” and “one night stands.” The abortion advocates and the industry they have spawned are all too happy to help such mothers-to-be to dispose of that which to them is but an unwanted, inconvenient “it.” Were it not for the prevalence of adultery and fornication, the abortion mills would go out of business overnight. Adultery and fornication have precipitated tens of millions of murders since 1973.


The Ultimate Consequence of Fornication and Adultery

I earlier quoted the first part of Hebrews 13:4, to which I now call attention again: “Let marriage be had in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled.” Now let us notice the remainder of the verse: “For fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” This verse draws an unmistakable and indelible line between the Divinely ordained licit and the illicit fulfillment of the sexual appetite. It is licit and “undefiled” in marriages that God authorizes (Mat. 19:6). Such marriages are “honorable,” and the marriage bed pure within them. Just as clearly stated, fulfillment of the sexual instinct is illicit and “defiled,” constituting fornication and/or adultery, in all other circumstances—including state-sanctioned marriages that are not sanctioned by God. The word judge (Heb. 13:4) translates the Greek word, krinoThayer cites Hebrews 13:4 as one of many occurrences in which context indicates it is “…used specifically of the act of condemning and decreeing (or inflicting) penalty on one” (361). Those who continue in these sins will receive God’s just condemnation and penalty on the Last Day.
Truth be told, there are few acts of which men are capable that more frequently fall under Divine censure and prohibition. In both pre-Mosaical and Mosaical eras, doctrine concerning sexual unions outside the context of marriage or with one besides one’s spouse closely parallel that conveyed in the New Testament. The seventh commandment of Moses’ Law forbade adultery, and the tenth commandment forbade coveting the wife of one’s neighbor (Exo. 20:14, 17). Elsewhere, the Law forbade incest, homosexual acts, and bestiality with violators to be cut off from Israel (Lev. 18:6–23).
The Lord and the New Testament writers continue this theme of condemnation of both fornication and adultery. Besides the Lord’s aforementioned injunctions concerning overt sexual misconduct, He further expressed His attitude toward fornication in His letters to the churches, promising dire judgment upon them if they did not repent (Rev. 2:14, 20–21). Moreover, He struck at the true source of these sins—the lustful eye and heart (Mat. 5:28; 15:19; cf. Exo. 20:17)).
Paul refers to these sins more than any other New Testament writer. As earlier noted, Corinth was a hotbed of sexual perversion and liberty, and it found its way into the church. Paul ordered the Corinthian brethren to “have no company with” the fornicating brother in their midst lest the entire church be Corinthianized with his sin (1 Cor. 5:5–11). This action was also for the purpose of saving his spirit at the Last Day (v. 5). Paul listed ten sinful behaviors that will bar one from the heavenly kingdom, half of which are sexual sins, including fornication and adultery (6:9–10; cf. his even longer list in Gal. 5:19–21, which also closes with the declaration that practitioners of such “shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven”). Later in the same First Corinthians context he labeled fornication as a sin from which the Christian must flee (v. 18). He continued in chapter 7 by urging that each man and woman should have his or her own spouse in order to avoid fornication (v. 2). To the Ephesians he wrote plainly of God’s judgment upon fornicators:
For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience (5:5–6).
Several additional passages with a similar emphasis flowed from his inspired pen (e.g., 1 Cor. 10:8; 2 Cor. 12:21; Col. 3:5; 1 The. 4:3).
A “great voice out of the throne” on high informed John that fornicators (among other reprobates) shall have their part “in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death” (Rev. 21:3–8). The “great voice” further told him that fornicators, along with assorted other impenitent sinners, would be shut outside the heavenly city (22:14–15).
Adulterers will suffer the same fate, for their sin is included in fornicators.
Unmistakably, the ultimate consequence of fornication and adultery, if unrepented of, is being cast into eternal Hell, the lake of fire, the second death, and being shut outside the splendor, glory, and joy of Heaven.



We live in an exceedingly wicked world, saturated with encouragement on every hand to fulfill one’s sexual desires in ways and in settings that a righteous God cannot tolerate indefinitely. The destructive influence these constant stimuli have had and continue to have on young people is a special source of concern to all who value moral purity.
What can we do about it? Paul and his first century companions in the Gospel faced a sex-saturated world, though admittedly without the instant accessibility modern technology (print, film, TV, Internet) affords today. However, the way they responded to these corrupting influences was to preach the Word “in season, out of season” by every means at their disposal (2 Tim. 4:2). The Gospel is still God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16). The more we preach (whether by newspaper articles, Websites, radio and television programs, correspondence courses, Internet schools [such as Truth Bible Institute]), the more potential impact we may have as a purifying influence in a putrid world.
Further, we can vote for candidates at every level who we know stand for moral decency, and we can challenge, by means of phone calls and letters, those who have been elected thus to stand. Many people still read letters to editors of local newspapers, in which we can voice the need for moral purity.
We need to continue to pray for our families that our children and grandchildren may remain pure, all the while doing our best to provide Biblical moral guidance and instruction for them. We need to pray for the church of the Lord, so many members of which have succumbed to the call of compromise relating to adultery and fornication. We need to pray that men and women in positions of authority may be awakened to the reality of the moral pigpen in which our nation now wallows, and may exert leadership in reversing it. We need to pray God that in His providence we may withstand the tsunami of sexual immorality and undo the grave damage it has done the past fifty years. If we are not able to do so, given the inspired history of God’s dealing with nations and their wickedness, I am made to wonder how much more longsuffering He has left for us.


Works Cited

Bauer, Walter, Ed. Arndt, William F., Gingrich, Wilbur F. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1957.
Dictionary.com. “Word Origin & History: Adultery.” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/adultery.
Divorcereform.org. “Divorce Statistics.” http://www.divorcereform.org/03statab.html.
Gesenius, William, Ed. Brown, Francis, Driver, S.A., Briggs, Charles A. The New Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Lafayette, IN: Assoc. Pub. and Authors: 1981.
Livestrong.com. “STD Information.” http://www.livestrong.com/article/13924-std-information/Kittel, Gerhard. Ed. Friedrich, Gerhard. Trans. Bromiley, Geoffrey W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans,1968.
Online Etymology Dictionary. “Fornication.” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=fornication.
Studylight.org. “Zanah.” The Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon http://www.studylight.org/lex/heb/view.cgi?number=02181.
Thayer, Joseph Henry. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. New York, NY: American Book Co., 1889.
Unger, Merrill F. and White, William, Jr., eds. Nelson’s Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1980.
Vine, W.E. Ed. Unger, Merrill F and White, William, Jr. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Nashville, TN: Nelson, 1996.
Wikipedia.org. “Alfred Kinsey.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Kinsey.



1         This family of words occurs forty-five times in the New Testament. The noun, porneia, rendered “fornication,” occurs twenty-six times (e.g., Mat. 5:31–32; 19:9; et al.). A handful of these occurrences are metaphorical, describing idolatry as “spiritual fornication” (Rev. 14:8; 17:2; et al.). The noun, pornos, variously rendered “fornicator” and “whoremonger,” occurs ten times, and is always used literally. The verb, porneuo, rendered “commit fornication,” occurs eight times (e.g., Mark 10:19; 1 Cor. 6:18; et al.). The verb, êkporneuo, occurs one time (Jude 7). It is an intensified usage of porneuo, referring to one who becomes the servant or slave of fornication.
2         This word group is comprised of five forms that appear thirty-five times in the New TestamentThe noun, moicheia, rendered “adultery,” occurs four times (e.g., Mat. 15:19). Moichos, another noun form, appears four times,also, and is rendered “adulterer” (e.g., 1 Cor. 6:9; et al.). Moichalis, yet another noun, occurs seven times, and is variously translated “adulteress,” “adulterous,” and “adultery” (e.g., 2 Pet. 2:14; et al.). Jesus also used it metaphorically in reference to apostate Judaism (e.g., Mat. 12:39; 16:4; et al.). The verb, moichao, is rendered “commit(teth) adultery, and occurs six times (e.g., Mat. 5:32; 19:9; et al.). The most frequently appearing member of this word family is moicheuo, also translated “commit adultery,” occurring fourteen times (e.g., Mat. 19:18; Mark 10:19; et al.). One of these times it is used metaphorically (Rev. 2:22).
All Scripture quotations are from the ASV (1901) unless otherwise indicated.
[Note: I wrote this MS for and presented a digest of it orally at the Annual Bellview Lectures, hosted by the Bellview Church of Christ, Pensacola, FL, June 11–15, 2011. It was published in the book of the lectures, Moral Issues We Face, ed. Michael Hatcher (Pensacola, FL: Bellview Church of Christ).]

Published in The Old Paths Archive