Questions and Answers - Part 6

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Leviticus 11:, Luke 6:38
In a series on questions sent in by listeners, this broadcast begins with this question: "You have stated that certain meats are unfit for food. How do you explain 1 Timothy 4:1-5?" Another question: "Do you believe that it is alright for children to play with guns in their homes?" Another question: "Don't you believe that charity begins at home, and parents should put their money into taking care of their own children rather than sending it for foreign missions?"
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The next question is also very interesting because it has to do with the matter of eating and drinking, too. Here is the question. You have stated that certain meats are unfit for food: How do you explain 1 Timothy 4:1-5, where Paul says that nothing is unclean of itself?

Well, we are going to take a look at that verse, friends, because it has often been misinterpreted and misunderstood. Let's begin reading there with verse 1, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils: Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidden to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." Alright, now, let's notice here that God warns about certain people in the last days who will give heed to seducing spirits and they will forbid to marry, to do a number of other things. Now, in the next text, also, God says that every creature of God is good. Now this word creature in the original language means any created thing. Notice, friends, that two conditions must be met before the creature can be received with thanksgiving. It must be sanctified first by the Word of God and then by prayer. This means we must consult the Bible, the Word of God, to see if something is acceptable as food. Has God indicated what it is clean and permissible to be used as food? If not, then it cannot be sanctified or approved as an item of diet. Secondly, it must be sanctified by prayer. Now a person could take some very obviously unclean food and pray over it without changing the nature of the food at all. By praying over a buzzard or moles or bats we will not feel the assurance that cleansing or sanctification of the item has taken place. By following the admonition of the Bible, we will find certain foods clean and sanctified by God and other foods that are actually condemned and forbidden by God as food. So, you can see, friends, by reading the entire text, we get a clear and beautiful picture of the principles to follow in eating and drinking to the glory of God.

In Deuteronomy 14 and Leviticus 11 we have quite an extensive list of those things that are forbidden as food. The swine, in particular, is said to be unclean and should not be eaten at all by any human being. Most of the seafood category is also strictly forbidden by these texts of the Bible. God does not elaborate on His reasons for condemning and forbidding these things for human consumption. The scientific reasons have been produced in abundance that these are scavenger animals and are filled with disease, and they certainly are not even considered to be clean by many modern authorities. Some people have felt that these things were cleansed and purified later on in New Testament days in some mysterious manner. But there is no text at all in the Bible that these items would ever be changed into fit food for consumption.

This is not some dispensational program that applies only to a certain people and a certain period of time. In the book of Genesis, chapter 7, we read that Noah took clean animals into the ark by sevens and unclean by two. This proves that there were clean and unclean animals long before there were any Jewish people in the world. In the book of Revelation you read about unclean birds and animals in chapter 18. Then in Isaiah 66:15-17 we read that God will consume and destroy all those who are found eating swine flesh at His glorious second coming. These texts prove beyond any shadow of doubt that God meant just what He said. No change has taken place in the nature of these animals, they are still unclean, and we are defiling and destroying the body temple by eating that which has been forbidden by God. Perhaps these texts will serve to clarify the question.

Now we come to our next question, "Do you believe that it is alright for children to play with guns in their homes?"

This is a wonderful question to be asked, friends, and one that we should understand very carefully. I'm sure that you have had the same experience that I have in relation to this problem. You have been walking down the street and children have pointed a realistic toy gun at you and shouted, "Bang, bang, you're dead." You drive along the road even, and a child points a gun at your car and exclaims, "You're dead." Walking down the street you are suddenly in the midst of a fierce war between good and bad men. Films and television programs are full of gun play. Youth today accept guns and their terrible results with an alarming casualness. Listen, friends, what do you think it is doing to our boys and girls to teach them to play with guns and to actually pretend to kill one another with them? We know, of course, that killing is the breaking of one of God's Ten Commandments. And, by the way, those commandments are being disregarded today almost universally. When we teach children to break any of the ten commandments, even by pretending to break them, we are doing them a tremendous disservice. We are placing something into their character that can never be changed. I have heard mothers defend their children's gun play by saying, "Well, they're just pretending to kill one another." But let me ask you something, would you teach your children to play at breaking any of the other ten commandments of God? Take the second one, for example, would you set up images around the house and play that you were worshiping them? Would you offer sham incense to them and bow down to them and call them gods just in play, or for fun? Of course not; I don't believe that any of the listening parents would want to do that in their home.

Neither would you break the third commandment for fun. You wouldn't swear just for fun, or you wouldn't pretend to be breaking into people's houses and stealing their property from them. You wouldn't play that you hated your parents or were disrespectful to them. Then, why does one want to pretend that they are breaking the commandment which says, "Thou shalt not kill." The games that children play actually have a great deal to do with the shaping of their future careers.

When the Wright brothers were little they were always playing with kites and homemade airplanes. Florence Nightingale nursed sick dogs and cats and anybody or anything that she could find that was ailing. Naturally when they grew up they followed the same bent. I have before me right now the headlines of the Washington Evening Star Newspaper of January 17, 1966. "Policeman's Young Son Finds Gun and Kills Self." It goes on to tell about this three-year-old child shooting himself with the gun, but the tragic part of the story is this, and I quote: "The family had just returned from an afternoon with friends where Jimmy and a four-year-old friend played with the latter's toy pistol." Children are not able to discern between the real and the make-believe. Not being old enough to appreciate the danger of an explosive weapon, they would deal with toys or the real thing in the very same way. The majority of American children have certainly become pretty well insulated to the sights of murder and gun violence. Unfortunately, it has become so commonplace to them that it almost means nothing to see a fellow human being die at the hands of some wild shooting gangster. With such scenes of cruelty and violence stamped indelibly in their impressionable minds, it is no wonder that they grow up without a sensitive appreciation of what might hurt, kill, maim, and destroy. I would say in answer to the question that it would be a tremendous mistake on the part of any parent to approve the use of guns as play things or toys.

This next question is a very interesting one and I'd like to share it with you at this time. "Don't you believe that charity begins at home, and parents should put their money into taking care of their own children rather than sending it for foreign missions?"

First of all, let me say that I am a foreign missionary myself, having spent five years in Indian Pakistan in evangelistic labors. I have no question at all but that parents should take care of their own children. But, I am also equally convinced that there is a much larger responsibility and accountability on the part of parents than their own offspring. Probably the greatest problem in America is that of selfishness. It must be literally true that the more an individual or a nation receives, the more it desires to have. I am positive that this is true when it comes to most individuals. The Bible has a great deal to say about liberality and generosity. Some of the most fantastic promises in the Bible have been made to those who give sacrificially and with self-denial into the cause of Christ.

Notice this verse, for example: "Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38. Christ had more to say about the stewardship of possessions of material means than almost any other subject. You will notice that most of His parables revolved around the idea of ownership and what one does with his possessions. In spite of the tremendous affluence of American society, it cannot be said that we are overextending ourselves on liberality to missions or any other religious cause. Do you realize that the average American spends only five cents a day for all of his combined religious and charitable giving? In contrast to that nickel every day, the average American spends nine cents for tobacco, 15 cents for alcoholic beverages, 22 cents for recreation, 58 cents for transportation, 59 cents for taxes, $1.12 for food, and $2.30 for other household expenses such as rent, clothing, savings, and so forth. Almost invariably you will find that religious giving comes in at the very bottom of the list, when it comes to the things that Americans do with their money.

Now what about this idea of giving for foreign missions? Let me assure you that in non-Christian lands, multitudes of people are longing to see the kind of light and deliverance which comes through the Christian gospel. For them life has no meaning at all until they receive the blessed hope and assurance that the gospel is able to give them. In this favored land of America almost every man, woman and child has the opportunity of hearing the gospel story. Churches are located within easy access to all American homes. But in the Orient millions of people do not even have the opportunity of hearing the glad tidings of salvation. This is why we should give the funds that are needed to carry that word to them. The command of Jesus was, "Go and preach the gospel to every nation kindred tongue and people." In order to do that, of course, funds are necessary. Those who cannot go themselves to do the work personally should certainly be willing to invest largely and sacrificially of material things so that others can accomplish the task.

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