By "SSS," I do not mean the Selective Service System, the Social Security System, the System Safety Society, the Florida Sunshine State Standards, the School of Social Science, Satellite Syndicated Systems or the Social Studies of Science. What then, do you mean, you are probably asking? By "SSS," I mean Summer Season Sins! By using this term, I do not imply that the summertime is the only time or season that these sins are committed. In fact, the sins that I will discuss in this article are committed during the spring, summer, fall or winter and all year around by some. Since summer is the most prevalent time for families to take extended vacations and enjoy the great out doors, Christians must be very watchful and on guard for the "wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:10-18) on a daily basis and not be overthrown by these sins anytime of the year.
The Hebrew writer rebuked those he wrote to in Hebrews 5:12-14 for not having matured spiritually when he said, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." As a result of their spiritual immaturity, they were still in the "baby stage" and could not stomach solid food or deeper truths and thus were not able to distinguish between good and evil. You see, their lack of knowledge, as a result of not growing, was sinful and many brethren suffer from this same spiritual sickness. In 1 Corinthians 11:30, Paul told the Corinthian brethren that many among them were "weak and sickly...and many sleep." Today, many brethren suffer from the same spiritual sickness that the inspired writers warned brethren about! Sadly, the reason many are overthrown by the SSS’s that I will discuss, is because of spiritual sickness and immaturity as a result of not being nourished by the word of God.
The first SSS that must be mentioned is the sin of immodesty! Since the summer weather is the hottest period of the year, many suffer from the spiritual fever and sickness of immodesty. I am embarrassed by what some brethren, who claim to be Christians, wear in public and even to worship services. Some argue that the Lord does not look on the outward appearance and they will even cite such passages as 1 Samuel 16:7; 2 Corinthians 10:7; James 2:1-6 and Matthew 7:1. Those who use these passages in a failed attempt to justify immodest, sloppy or inappropriate attire, pervert and mis-apply the context of these passages.
The Bible clearly condemns immodesty and there is no valid way to justify such attire. In 1 Timothy 2:9, 10, Paul instructed women to adorn themselves modestly. Said Paul, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." This applies to men as well, for when Paul wrote to Titus, he commanded the older men to teach the younger men "...to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you" (Tit. 2:6-8).
After Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree, "the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." By reading further in this chapter, we know that the "aprons" or loin clothes they made did not fully cover their nakedness, because "the LORD God made coats of skins, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21). The word rendered "coats," is from the Hebrew word kethoneth meaning, a shirt, coat, garment, robe which will cover. In Genesis 9:20-23, Noah "drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness." By reading these passages from the book of Genesis, God defined nakedness from the beginning. Further, in Exodus 28, God gave Moses the pattern for the garments of the priests. In verse 41-43, the text says, "And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him." Therefore, exposure of the flesh from the knees up is defined by these Bible texts as nakedness.
So, how is it that many dress immodestly during the summer? Many wear shorts (that expose the thigh, especially when sitting with the legs crossed), short shorts, swimming attire such as bikinis and other attire that display ones nakedness. Some bikinis do not have enough material in them to cover a babies bottom! Wearing such attire is a clear violation of the text of 1 Timothy 2:9. To be Godly adorned one must wear "modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety," whether one is swimming, camping, hiking or participating in a sporting event of some sort. Peter said in 1 Peter 3:3, 4, "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." The definition of several words used in these texts are worthy of consideration. According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary we have these definitions: (1) Modest - orderly, i.e. decorous:–of good behaviour, modest; (2) Shamefacedness - through the idea of downcast eyes; bashfulness, i.e. (towards men), modesty or (towards God) awe:–reverence, shamefacedness; (3) Sobriety - soundness of mind, i.e. (literally) sanity or (figuratively) self-control:–soberness, sobriety. When anyone wears attire that exposes any flesh of the body from below the neck-line to the their thighs, this is anything but modest, shamefacedness or sobriety!
Christians are of the "royal priesthood." The apostle Peter wrote, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." Therefore, Christians should show forth praise unto God in all manner of life, especially in our attire. Wearing immodest attire shows that the one who does so, is "conformed to this world." The apostle Paul commanded, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom. 12:2). Christians are to show "all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things" (Tit. 2:10); Christians are not to be "adorned" in immodest attire, but be "clothed with humility" (1 Pet. 5:5).
Fellowshipping Brethren In Error
The second SSS that many are involved in is the sin of fellowshiping brethren in error! How is this done? By attending a congregation while visiting that teaches error, condones error or supports preachers that preach error. Some conclude that any congregation that has a sign that reads, "Church of Christ" is ok! Or, if a congregation is listed in a "conservative" directory, then no questions need to be asked. These same people who reason this way are very selective regarding their hotel reservations–just any hotel will not satisfy them! They are very selective and sometimes picky about the restaurants they visit–just any restaurant or just anything on the menu will not satisfy them! They are very selective about the means of transportation they take–just any airline or cruise ship or travel route will not satisfy them! They are very selective about the recreational park they may visit–just any park will not satisfy them! They are very selective about the fishing, camping, hunting, hiking gear or golfing equipment they purchase–just any brand gear will not satisfy them! Yet, when it comes to the congregation(s) they may visit while on vacation, any congregation with the name "Church of Christ" or any congregation listed as "conservative" satisfies them, and no investigation is considered or done about what is believed or taught. Why is this attitude so prevalent? The reason is that some are not seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33).
The apostle John wrote in 2 John 9-11, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:11, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." To "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness" means, to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." Since all error is darkness, then congregations that teach or support error should not be fellowshipped! When brethren do not take the time to investigate the stand of the congregation in the area they are planning to visit during the planning stages of their respective vacation with the same eagerness they expend to arrange their travel arrangements, hotel reservations and other details of their trip, then they are not seeking "first the kingdom of God." "Where am I going to worship?" and gathering details about the congregation one plans to worship with, should be the top priority! Remember, Christians must "seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness!" I think the latter part of this passage– "and His righteousness," is often overlooked if not ignored! If no thought is given, or questions are asked about what a congregation believes, teaches or practices, and the only standard of rule that is used is the name on the sign or that the congregation is listed in a directory as a "conservative" congregation, then I am not convinced that one is seeking "His righteousness." Rather, convenience has become the rule and standard!
Not Laying By In Store
Next, the third SSS is lack or slackness in laying by in store on the first day of the week! After all, some spend exorbitant amounts of money on some vacations. Some even have the mistaken idea that when they are away, they are not obligated to give–they are on vacation, you know.
Dear reader, the text of 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 puts this foolish notion in the graveyard of quibbles! In this text Paul commanded, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." Paul gives the why, the who, the when and the where. (1) The why - for the poor saints as per the Divine order of the apostle Paul; (2) the who - "every one of you" which means "every one of you" just like Peter meant "every one of you" when he answered the Jews by saying, "repent and be baptized every one of your for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). This included every member in all the churches of Galatia and the church at Corinth. And, it includes all Christians today! (3) the when - "on the first day of the week" means the first day of every week since every week has a first day; (4) the where - during their assembly on the "first day of the week!"
Malachi charged those of his day for robbing God! The prophet Malachi wrote, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings." When Christians fail to give as they should or do not give at all, they have disobeyed the clear command to give as they have been prospered. Think about it, they were prospered enough to TAKE a vacation, right? To "lay by in store" means to store up and have ready so one can give on the first day of the week. Apparently, some do not "lay by in store" the portion they are to give because they were on vacation and feel relieved of their obligation to give. Further, every Christian has an obligation to give at the congregation he is a member of. Acts 9:26-28 shows that the apostle Paul understood this principle– "And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem." Every congregation has financial obligations to meet in doing its work. Undue financial strain is sometimes placed on congregations when members do not lay by in store and give as they have been prospered every first day of the week, because they were on vacation.
Abusing the Lord’s Supper
Next, the fourth SSS is abuse of the Lord’s supper. I have known of some brethren who think you can take the elements of the Lord’s supper with you on vacation and partake of it at the camp ground or in your hotel room. Not so! There must be the "coming together" with the saints in a particular location. If the purpose of your coming together was for a vacation, then that is the wrong purpose. The Corinthians came together (1 Cor. 11:17, 18, 20, 33; 14:23, 26). Their purpose for coming together was supposed to be for scriptural worship, according to apostolic instruction. In fact, Paul tarried seven days in Troas so he could assemble with the saints on the "first day of the week" to "break bread" (Acts 20:7). To have the false idea that the elements of the Lords’ supper can be taken with you on vacation, is not "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
Further, some brethren have the idea that if they if they were not present at the Lord’s day morning services, then as long as they make to the Lord’s day evening service and partake of the Lord’s supper (getting a pinch of bread and sip of juice), that everything is fine. But, if they were not present at the morning service because they forsook the morning service, then they have violated the command of the Hebrew writer in Hebrews 10:25 and thus abuse the Lord's supper. To be somewhat blunt and to the point, I submit to you that they get nothing more than a cold supper!
Forsaking The Assembling of Saints
Finally, the most prevalent SSS is forsaking the assembling of the saints! The Hebrew writer wrote, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Heb. 10:25). Considering what the writer said in verses 22-39 of this chapter, forsaking the assembling is a serious matter! Brethren who do so:
Need I say more about this? No, when Christians forsake any assembly, even one assembly, they are deserters and absent without leave, or using the military acronym–AWOL! Willfully forsaking any assembly for pleasure or for the lack of just not caring, is a serious sin and should be confessed and repented of!
In this article we have looked at the following SSS’s:
Yes, summer vacations and recreational outings can be a very enjoyable time, but on the other hand, can be a very dangerous time for the souls of brethren who engage in these sins. Brethren, if this article incenses you, I make no apology! If it causes you to think, I have done my job! If you are guilty of these sins and repent, I thank the Lord! If you continue in these sins, you are without excuse! If you are making plans for your next vacation, "Therefore watch, and remember, that... I ceased not to warn every one...with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:31, 32).