THE PROBLEM OF DRAWING THE LINEThe Bible condemns greed (1 Cor. 5:11), but does not explicitly state when a person become greedy. The Bible condemns forsaking the assembly (Heb. 10:24-25), does not state when a legitimate reason crosses the line into forsaking.WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE? **
THE PROBLEM OF DRAWING THE LINEIf we were discussing pure academics then we could simply draw a box around the sin and avoid it. This is a soul shattering issue. God gave prohibitions for our benefit. (Romans 7:7) Sin takes the opportunity to inspire improper desire to break Gods law. (Romans 7:8) Sin works through deceit (Romans 7:11) Sin wants to dominate (Romans 7:15-16) Sin wants to destroy (Romans 7:24) If sin could have this kind of affect on a man like Saul of Tarsus (Phil. 3:3-6), then it can have a devastating affect on our lives. **
Do we consider sins devastating nature when drawing the line against it? No alcoholic thought that his or her first social drink would lead to alcoholic domination of their lives. No one addicted to pornography and sex thought their first foray into lust would lead them into slavery. No compulsive gambler thought that his first initial step in penny-ante poker would lead to financial ruin and family abandonment. No glutton ever thought his extra ice cream when he was bored would lead him to diabetes, heart disease, strokes and the inability to stop over eating. No busy body ever thought that the telling of one little secret would lead to the undoing of her reputation leaving her basically untrustworthy and unfriended.
**Do we give due concern and thought as to how sin works?
Everyone who succumbs to a sip of alcohol, buys a lottery ticket, eats a second helping, shares a secret,Is destined for sinful domination of their lives. BUT SIN DOES ESCALATE. Christ is the answer (Romans 7:24-25). But once sin has taken hold the transformation is not easy. Jesus will help us to overcome, Jesus will provide a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13), but Jesus will not overcome the problem for us (without us). All have been stained by sin (Romans 3:10-18, 23), but this does not mean that we throw up our hands in the battle against sin. **
Text: Matthew 7:13-14 aEnter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. A path of righteousness (Psalm 23:3) A path of wickedness (Psalm 1:1)
To ask the question, Where Do I Draw the Line? from the wrong perspective is to ask the wrong question. Ref. Luke 7:36-50; Jesus rebuked Simon and praised the sinful woman. Was Simon not hospitable? Where in the law did God command foot washing? Foot kissing? Etc. Perhaps Simon sought to get by with the minimal required? (vv. 44-46) The woman is contrasted by kissing Jesus feet and anointing them with oil. (v.38) She desired to draw near to the Lord. **
Some will draw a line of legalism. The minimum requirement made by law. The maximum permission granted by law. Example: The Rich Young Ruler (Matt. 19:18-20) Some will draw a line of love. Will my line draw me closer to the Lord. (James 4:7-8)**
At first these paths might run parallel so that an individual will try to walk both of them or even straddle them. (Matt. 6:24) If we choose the path of wickedness we can reach a point of no return. (Hebrews 6:6) If we tread down the path of wickedness far enough the course back to righteousness is soul rending and painful. (Matt. 5:29-30) We do not always initially see the end of the path, but Gods word provides wisdom for the way we should go. (Proverbs 2:6-10; Psalm 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16-17) **
Where Do I Draw the Line?Are we asking it from a desire to figure out the minimum required output? Are we asking it from a desire to legally push the envelope and get away with as much as possible?Are we asking it out of concern for glorifying God? If we are to draw a line closer to God, then we will behave in a way as to work out our salvation (Phil. 2:12)
The easiest principle of lining drawing in Scripture is when the Bible explicitly forbids an action. Stealing is wrong: Eph. 4:28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather ahe must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, cso that he will have something to share with 1one who has need. Situation ethics does not authorize: Proverbs 6:30-31 Men do not despise a thief if he steals To asatisfy 2himself when he is hungry; 31 But when he is found, he must arepay sevenfold; He must give all the 1substance of his house.
Some Christians draw boxes around prohibitions taking a legalistic approach. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus taught abstaining from particular prohibitions, and from the attitudes that lead to those prohibitions.Anger/Murder (Matt. 5:21-26)Lust/Adultery (Matt. 5:27-32) **
NOTICE GODS RESPONSEIn punishing Cain, God not only responded to murder (Genesis 4:10-11), but to Cains anger and contemptible spirit (Genesis 4:6-7). We need to take heed to our spirit. CONSIDER THE PRINCIPLE, NOT JUST THE SPECIFIC ACTION. God told the children of Israel not to touch the ark (Num. 4:5, 15), and Levites should carry the ark. Uzzah touched the ark (2 Sam. 6:7). Was there a greater principle involved than just ark touching? (1 Chron. 15:12-13)
NOTICE GODS RESPONSECONSIDER THE PRINCIPLE, NOT JUST THE SPECIFIC ACTION. TRACE THE SIN TO ITS ORIGINWhere did the transgression begin? Did the sin against Naboth begin with his stoning? (1 Kings 21:9-13)When did the sin begin? (1 Kings 21:4) It began with Ahabs angry, covetous attitude. **
COMPARE APPROVED EXAMPLES WITH THE CONDEMNED. Contrast men like David and Joseph. Did Josephs resistance begin on the day Potiphars wife seized his garment? (Genesis 39:7-13) Did Davids sin begin in the bedroom with Bathsheba? (2 Samuel 11) David was walking on his roof. Could he have looked away? Did he have to linger? Did he have to inquire? What should he have done when informed of Bathshebas marriage?
**Fornication/AdulteryTypically does not begin in a bedroom. Lust of the FleshDirty Jokes/Sexual Commits/Open Sexual StatementsPhysical Contact/Heavy Petting/UncleannessDO NOT FLIRT WITH THIS SIN! (1 Cor. 6:18)
NOTICE GODS RESPONSECONSIDER THE PRINCIPLE, NOT JUST THE SPECIFIC ACTION. TRACE THE SIN TO ITS ORIGINCOMPARE APPROVED EXAMPLES WITH CONDEMNED EXAMPLESCOMPARE WITH OTHER PRINCIPLES IN SCRIPTURE. Just because the rich young ruler was instructed to sell all he had (Matt. 19:21) does not mean everyone is subject to that same command (Acts 5:4).We must draw the line against anything that comes between us and God. **
CAN I DO THIS IN THE NAME OF CHRIST?COL. 3:17;AM I PURSUING A COURSE OF THE FLESH OR FOLLOWING THE SPIRIT? GAL. 5:16-25; AM I PROVIDING FOR THE LUST OF THE FLESH? ROMANS 13:14; AM I PROFESSING GODLINESS?1 TIMOTHY 4:7-8; 1 TIMOTHY 2:10DO MY ACTIONS DEMONSTRATE I AM SET APART OF HOLINESS?1 THESS. 4:1-8; **
We commonly ask this question. Considering sins nature do we draw it early enough? Do we draw a line that draws us closer to God? Do we consider Gods word when drawing our line? Do we note the road signs on the way? **
This sermon was taken from a lecture presented by Edwin Crozier at the 2008 Florida College Lectures and represented by Lee Hyatt**