Adultery Is Near! (1)

Every day we go about seeking to fulfill the chief end of man: to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q.&. A.1). In this walk we must have the meekness to realize that within us Satan tempts us to conform to the wickedness of the world and to forsake the call to “put on the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:16). A great temptation is the sin of adultery which Satan has filled the world with. He desires that we forsake God by breaking His seventh command, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” (Ex. 20:14).

In this twenty-first century the world is so full of filth. Adultery is everywhere. Innumerable ways present themselves to fall into this sin. I only list a few: advertisements are increasingly abundant that appeal towards these sinful lusts, television programs and movies find little fault including scenes showing this sin, pornography is almost accepted as a normal form to find pleasure, walking out of the grocery store there are magazines which can tempt a passerby to look through with lust, and taking part in sexting. The devil is taking best advantage of technology to saturate the world with this age-old temptation.

What do I scroll through on Instagram, what stories do I watch on Snapchat, and what do I post? It is important we all consider these questions and meditate on them. We must even ask if there is something we liked or commented under that could be a temptation for others. We hear these warnings and we must heed to them! We are called to be blameless and our use of social media must reflect this calling (Phil. 2:15). The warnings are repeated because the temptations are repeated and grow stronger. Do not excuse this article saying, “I have already recently read something telling me of this danger.” It cannot be ignored. The devil wants you to think that you do not need a reminder. As soon as we start to think we are good enough on our own the devil strikes.

We must remain strong and “posses [our] vessel in sanctification and honour;” (I Thess. 4:3-5). This sin is not far from our church, nor is it far from us personally. It is not far from you! Each one us of must realize its danger and flee to God from this sin. We are not capable of living perfectly of ourselves. We are weak on our own and, if left to ourselves, will most definitely fall into all the snares of the devil. Many times, we try to rely on ourselves and quickly realize we have no strength. We must confess our confidence and strength is in God not of ourselves with David in Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”

It is God’s will for our sanctification that we abstain from fornication. May we ever realize its danger in our lives. I urge you never to give occasion to this sin for yourself or for another by any action. When we do fall and find ourselves amid trouble may we not give up hope but trust in God who will stretch forth his hand and save us (Ps. 138:7).

Luke Christian Potjer

Rooting Out the Weeds of Sin

At the beginning of this summer, my family and I decided to plant a garden. We started out with really good intentions, motivated to keep it watered, weeded, and fertilized in hopes of harvesting a healthy crop of produce.  That went well for a few weeks. At the beginning, my siblings and I would walk out to the garden with watering cans and manually water our thirsty plants. Every week, I would step into my boots, get down on my hands and knees, and carefully pick any semblance of a weed that could be rearing its ugly head near my plants, threatening to deprive them of sunlight and nutrients.

But that didn’t last very long. Eventually the excitement wore off. School started and life got busier. No one wanted to go out and pick weeds anymore. Soon small weeds began to sprout alongside our flowering plants. They grew bigger and bigger, feeding off the nutrients meant to nourish our plants. Eventually those small sprouts weren’t so small anymore. They grew into huge weeds towering above struggling plants, soaking up their sunlight and water, slowly choking them out.

After just a few weeks of neglect, the garden we started with such good intentions has become so overgrown that hardly anyone dares venture into it to pick what fruit there is to harvest. The weeds have taken over so much that the thought of bringing back the neat, tidy garden we started with is too daunting to even consider.

This story about my family’s garden teaches a lesson that can be applied to our spiritual lives. Our hearts are like that garden and those weeds are the sins that creep into our lives, seeking to choke out a healthy love for God, zeal for spiritual things, and desire to walk in a new godly life. So often we start out with great intentions, motivated to keep God’s law, fight our sins, and walk holily. But soon tiny little sins creep into our lives. They may not seem like a big deal at first, and we might initially stamp them out. But eventually we grow weary. Our motivation runs thin and we get caught up in the busyness of life and the pleasures of the world. We forget to fight those little sins, or we just don’t care enough anymore. Besides, they’re just little sprouts; they can’t do much harm. Until we turn around and find that those small sprouts have grown into massive flowering weeds. By then it’s too late – those weeds of sin are so deeply rooted in our hearts and lives that we don’t even know where to start to root them out.

This illustration should serve as a warning to me and to you about the pervasive nature and power of sin in our hearts and spiritual lives. If we do not remain vigilant weeding out those small sins that persistently make appearance in our lives, they will take root and grow exponentially until they are choking out the good fruit of sanctification in our lives. How much easier isn’t it to pluck out those small sprouts when they first appear than to pull up the deep roots of a full-grown flowering weed?

But if and when we do allow those weeds to take root, we must not despair, thinking there is no hope and all is lost. Christ has given us His Spirit, Who strengthens and renews us in our godly walk. Constantly we must be examining our hearts and lives for sins that may be taking root so we can weed them out. With the power of the Spirit, we can and do fight against those sins, plucking them up at the root and tilling our garden back into neat rows. The life of the child of God is a constant battle against our sinful flesh, but we are not alone. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4).

Anna Langerak

The Parable of the Sower

Think for a moment of the parable of the sower and his seed.  This is a story which most (if not all) Christians are familiar with.  The seed falls in four different locations, and in three cases it does not produce fruit for various reasons.  Sunday school classes often teach this particular parable for its simple structure – it is easy to grasp, even at a young age.  It is interesting, then, that we so readily forget it.  If you are like me, you typically think of yourself as simply the “good ground” we read of in Matthew 13:8.  This is altogether too easy a mindset for us to slip into – I’m saved; it’s all meaningless now.  Nothing I do can merit my salvation, and it’s already been bought anyway.  I’m good.  Now I just have to find the best way to produce some fruit. 

If we adopt this thinking, there is nothing here for us – this parable is totally meaningless.  We would do well to consider ourselves in connection to the other kinds of soil.  By nature, of course, we are the hard ground that the seeds are incapable of penetrating; we know this and are often willing to acknowledge it.  But we are sometimes also the other soils as well.  How often do we not make our faith overtly obvious in the best of times but then become mysteriously quiet in the face of trials?  When we do so, we are the stony soil – there is precious little foundation there, and the sun blisters and withers anything that grows.  When the seeds of offensive doctrine are sown to us by God’s Word, how do we react?  Often, we are choked out from confessing them by the thorny old man.  When the command comes to us to lead a new and godly life, the old man closes our throat with his thorny earthly pleasures and prevents us from speaking up in obedience.  Instead, we continue to live lives of utter sinfulness, drinking, lusting, and lying as we did before.

Now acknowledging our shortcomings, we can consider our ultimate place – the soft soil.  Remembering that is only by the Spirit’s continual work of sanctification in us that our inner thorns are more and more uprooted, we ought to turn to God in utter dependence and thanksgiving!  However, now that the gospel is able to take root in our hearts, the work is not at an end.  The plant must continue to grow and to produce fruit.  What better way to cause this growth than the opportunity we have tomorrow morning?  Enter into God’s house and worship Him.  When you hear the Word preached, you will grow spiritually in the warmth that is the “Sun of righteousness” (Malachi 4:2).  Jesus Christ, the living water, will enter into the roots of your faith and heart and rejuvenate you from your thirst after a long, sinful week.  Only when we have the grace of God within us are we able to produce the fruit that He demands of us.  If we fool ourselves into thinking that we can produce fruit of our own accord, we will find that we fail; it will be tainted by our self-righteous pride, and it will be rotten.  This fruit is not pleasing to God – of such He says, “I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16)!  So, child of God, when you go to the house of God tomorrow, soak up the sunlight, and drink of His goodness!

Matthew Koerner