Speaker: Michael Larrabee
Summary: Genesis 17:1-22, Genesis 32:22-31, John 1:42, Matthew 16:18, Acts 13:9, Revelation 2:12-17
We look at the different places in the Bible where God assigns men new names. From Abraham, a name of blessing, that special name that Jesus gives those who overcomes.
17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)
Speaker: Pastor Mike
Summary: Don’t let this world tie you down. We must live for a higher purpose and seek God above all else. We seek not for power nor blessing, but we seek Jesus. Jesus first, Jesus alone.
31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 1:31 New King James Version (NKJV)
Whenever we attempt to determine what we believe and the standards by which we live our lives must do so in the light of past generations and church history as a whole. In recent years there seems to have been an abandonment of things which have been help as classical christian standards and beliefs. One such standard that has gone out of vogue is the prohibition of body modification. The early church held that such things held a connection with pagan religion and that it was a defilement of the image of God, in whose image we have been created. Since the church fathers felt very strongly that such practices had no place in Christian living we should give the issue careful consideration before we throw off the old paths. Remember the Bible describes the Christian life as straight and narrow, and the way of destruction as broad way.
Now it is true that body modification has a long history within pagan worship. Tattoos has been discovered on mummies in Egypt and the frozen remains of the “Ice man” discovered in Europe. The connection with Egyptian culture brings understanding to why God forbid the the nation of Israel from the practice as it would have certainly lead them back into idolatry, but what does it mean to us within our culture and the day and age in which we live. Certainly we are thousands of years removed from such practices and getting a piercing or tattoo almost definitely not lead us into idolatry. Or will it? This will depend upon the reasons. Are you attempting to draw attention to your body? In our culture we have a god of vanity, youth, and sensuality. It is easy to fall into the idolatry of this present age and to adopt its mindset and world view. We as Believers must ever be on our guard to prevent our world view from being warped by the culture all around us, for the scriptures sternly warn us to “Love not the world nor the things of this world (1 John 2:15).”
Finally there is the question the question we must examine the what are the natural conclusions we should draw from our key verse here. We are not a product of chance, and we are not a mistake as far as God is concerned. It is true we have been created in the image of God, but God is spirit, so applications to of body do not fit well, but God has made us and God has declared the what He had made as good. In fact when it came to the creation of humanity, He declared His workmanship to be “very good”. Mankind is a unique creation when compared to the rest of the creation. From what we can see God spoke all things into being with the exception of humanity. With Adam, God formed him from the dust, and with woman, God formed her from the rib of man. Now when attempt to modify our bodies, what are we saying about God workmanship? Who are we to attempt to improve upon God’s creation?
Now this ought not to be a divisive topic. I have know some really incredible Christians with piercings and tattoos which they have gotten after they were saved. I would argue against anyone who would question their commitment to Christ. But since the scriptures have given us a clear mandate to “do all things for the glory of God”, we should careful examine decisions and the manner in which live and the message we are sending the world around us. We should desire that everything about us is consistent with the faith we hold so dear.