Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Volume 02, Number
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
Mt. Baker church
In this issue:
While writing his second letter to the church in Corinth, the
apostle Paul expresses great concern over the fact that some of the
Christians there had given themselves over to sin. Paul specifically points
out that some of the Corinthian brethren were involved in the sin of
“lasciviousness.” Paul writes, “For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not
find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye
would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings,
whisperings, swellings, tumults; and lest, when I come again, my God will
humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already,
and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness
which they have committed” (2 Cor. 12:20-21).
The very fact that some Christians in Corinth stood guilty of lascivious
behavior ought to alert us to the fact that we too may be guilty of such. We
know for certain that lasciviousness is a deplorable sin, since Paul classes
it with such sins as backbiting and fornication, however, we may not have
any idea as to what specifically the apostle is condemning when he renounces
“lasciviousness.” As a result of our ignorance, we may be committing this
sin without even realizing it.
What is Lasciviousness?
The term “lasciviousness” is derived from the Greek word, aselgeia, and is
also translated as “lewdness,” “licentiousness,” and “wantonness” in various
passages of our English Bibles. The word literally means, “excess, absence
of restraint, or indecency” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary). The sin of
lasciviousness is one of shameless conduct. The lascivious person casts off
all of the restraint and self-control that is necessary in order to live a
godly life and behaves according to his selfish and indecent desires. Let’s
examine some areas of our lives in which we may be committing
1. Christians are expected to behave differently than the world. In marking
out this difference, Peter says, “For the time past of our life may suffice
us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in
lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and
abominable idolatries; wherein they think it strange that ye run not with
them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Pet. 4:3-4). While
the sinful world around us is a constant picture of lascivious behavior, we
are to rise above such conduct.
2. How do we know if we are behaving in a lascivious manner? The apostle
Peter obviously includes lascivious behavior in the context of drinking
alcohol and being driven by one’s own lusts. If we allow ourselves to be
guided by our lustful desires, rather than the instruction of God’s word,
then we will behave in a lascivious manner. This may manifest itself in a
variety of ways. We may tell and listen to “dirty” jokes, we may drink
alcohol in social settings, we may be driven by our desire to accumulate
material wealth, or we may always desire to be where there is sin and
debauchery. We will want to be where the “action” is, and we will “follow a
multitude to do evil” (Exod. 23:2). In short, we will talk, look, and act
very much like the world. Such is lascivious conduct in a general sense.
Our Choices of Entertainment
1. We will be affected by the things we see and hear. Jesus said, “That
which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of
the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye,
blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and
defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23). When we fill our minds full of that which is
evil and indecent, the warning of the Lord is that it will not be long
before we begin to act in a way that is evil and indecent.
2. What are you filling your mind with? The lascivious man watches movies
full of foul language and illicit sexual content, and says, “It won’t affect
me.” The lascivious man entertains himself with pornography, foolishly
thinking that he is in control of the situation. We act in a lascivious
manner when we choose to sit in front of a television or movie screen and
entertain ourselves with all kinds of ungodliness and profanity. The Lord
tells us that those things that occupy our minds will soon be the things
that occupy our time (Matt. 5:27-30; Mark 7:20-23).
Our Choice of Clothing
1. Is it “immodest,” or is it “lascivious”? As he begins to list some of the
sinful works of the flesh, Paul writes, “Now the works of the flesh are
manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness” (Gal. 5:19). I have often heard the wearing of short, tight,
or revealing clothing referred to as “immodest,” however, such clothing is
probably more accurately classed as lascivious. Speaking of lasciviousness
and the rest of the works of the flesh, Paul says, “Those who practice such
things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21).
2. Are you dressing in a lascivious manner? Remember, if your choice of
clothing does manifest lasciviousness, the apostle says it will keep you out
of heaven. Any clothing that is indecent, intended to incite lust in the
hearts of the opposite sex, or displaying a lack of restraint and
self-control would be considered lascivious. Parading around in public
wearing clothing that is revealing or tight-fitting would be classified as
lascivious behavior, along with the wearing of swimsuits in public. None of
this has any place in the life of a Christian.
We must guard against living like those, “who being past feeling have given
themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with
greediness” (Eph. 4:19). Are you guilty of lasciviousness?
Living Soberly, Righteously and Godly
If you are thinking that this sounds like something God wants, you are
exactly right. However, to live soberly, righteously and godly in this
present world, as we are commanded in Titus 2:12, we must first know the
meanings of the words. Then we can go from there.
(A) Soberly: self-governing, self-restraint, which means you are able to
control yourself through self-discipline. You control your appetites,
passions, and affections, not the other way around. For example, many are
familiar with Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics basketball team. He
recognizes he must practice self-control concerning his appetites. He knows
that he cannot eat a dozen White Castles (who can?) after each game and
still expect to perform as he does. Can we be Christians and not have
self-control? See Proverbs 23:21. We must be able to control our thoughts
and not let temptation lead us to sin.
(B) Righteously: whatever conforms to God's will, whatever has been
appointed by God to be obeyed, the sum total of the requirements of God.
These definitions require us to study to be able to know exactly what God
would have us to do. We must study (2 Tim. 2:15). It was required of us in
school so we could pass the teacher's tests. Jesus says, come to my school
in Matthew 11:29; "come learn of me." Get your Bible out a few minutes each
day and learn how to be righteous.
(C) Godly: to live in a way that will be pleasing to God, according to God,
or after a godly sort. The Hebrew writer tells us that to be pleasing to God
we must have faith (11:6). Paul tells us, in Romans 10:17, that faith comes
by hearing the word of God. A good place to hear the word of God is at the
regular services of the church. Will you be there?
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.
The Mount Baker Beacon is a
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149