Posts Tagged ‘Compromise’
In Luke 12:49-53 Jesus said,
49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
What strikes me about this passage is that Jesus clearly says that He came not to unite but to divide. When Christ comes into a life, He sanctifies that life unto God (John 17:17, 20). That life is now a new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). We become children of the light (Ephesians 5:8-10). We are citizens of another kingdom, the kingdom of God (Philippians 3:20).
And yet toward the world, we are aliens and strangers (1 Peter 2:9-12). We are not like the world. We don’t look like them or act like them or love what they love (1 John 2:15-17). We are devoted to the Lordship of Christ in our lives and we live our lives with our eyes fixed on eternity (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10).
Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:12-19,
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Peter reminds us that we are not part of this world. The world will not understand why we reject sin and why are we willing to suffer for the name of Jesus. The world can’t explain why we are in love with this Jesus and why we are not ashamed to bear His name upon us (v. 16). We are determined to take up our cross and follow Him at any and every cost (Luke 9:23-25).
So beloved, when the world attacks us for our strong stand against sin and against the culture we live in, stay true to Jesus. Just today I read a post from a man who use to preach the gospel with conviction and power. He and I would go witnessing together. Yet today he was writing about homosexuals should be allowed to marry because of love for one another. What happened to this man? He gave in to the culture around him. It is far easier to make peace with the world than to fight against the world.
Our battle is not against homosexuals or adulterers or liars but Paul says that it’s against spiritual forces of darkness in Ephesians 6:12. John Wesley comments about this passage,
For our wrestling is not only, not chiefly, against flesh and blood – Weak men, or fleshly appetites. But against principalities, against powers – The mighty princes of all the infernal legions. And great is their power, and that likewise of those legions whom they command. Against the rulers of the world – Perhaps these principalities and powers remain mostly in the citadel of their kingdom of darkness. But there are other evil spirits who range abroad, to whom the provinces of the world are committed. Of the darkness – This is chiefly spiritual darkness. Of this age – Which prevails during the present state of things. Against wicked spirits – Who continually oppose faith, love, holiness, either by force or fraud; and labour to infuse unbelief, pride, idolatry malice, envy, anger, hatred. In heavenly places – Which were once their abode, and which they still aspire to, as far as they are permitted.
Our battle is for souls against the devil. The world may not believe in him but we who love God and His Word know that the devil is real and that he is out to destroy lives. Our passion is the gospel that sets people free (John 8:31-38). We believe that God’s heart is for the lost to come to faith in Christ and be saved. I pray that today we will see that we cannot make peace with the world for Christ says that He came to bring division between us and the world. We should realize that the world hates us because it hated Christ (John 15:18-25). Yet through preaching Christ we can transform our world through His glorious gospel (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
Statistics tell us that many of the young people now attending church while in high school will drop out of attending church when they head off to college. You can read various approaches to why this is the case. For the seeker churches, it’s because church is boring. For the emergents, it’s because church is too doctrinal. For the fundamentalist churches, it’s because the church was too liberal. For the charismatics, the church lacked the presence of God. For the reformed churches, the young people failed to be taught the doctrines of grace. For the Arminian churches, the young people fell away from the faith.
On and on the analysis could go. Let me give my two cents worth here at my lowly blog.
I read this morning from a liberal “Christian” blog about why the blogger feels young people are leaving the church. He felt that the reason is hypocrisy. Of course while saying that he was not “into politics,” he took aim at conservatives making church all about the Republican party and about how conservatives don’t care for the poor (which is a lie) and how the Church has made the enemy the world and thus turned the battle into an us versus them mentality. But the blogger lacked much in his post.
The liberal blogger never mentions Satan. I don’t expect him too. He probably doesn’t believe in Satan. Satan would love that. Satan is real. Satan is called the “tempter” in Matthew 4:3. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 we read that the god of this world (Satan according to John 12:31) blinds the minds of unbelievers. Satan does this to many people whether young people heading off to college or old people in their idolatry.
In Matthew 13:19 we read that the evil one comes and snatches away the seed of the Word. I believe that Satan does this all the time. He wants to destroy the Word of God that is in people’s hearts. I have seen him do this many times to friends of mine who appeared to be walking with God and then Satan comes and snatches away the Word in their hearts. They quickly fall away.
2. False Conversions
How many people are sitting in evangelical churches week after week but are not true disciples of Jesus? So many people are false converts. They are lost. They are dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). They do not love the truth of God (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11). They do not abide in Christ’s teachings (John 8:31-32; 2 John 9). They are those in Matthew 7:21-23 or 13:20-21 who are not truly following Jesus.
So many young people have been raised on a Christless Christianity. They have not heard the true gospel. They have heard that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. They accept this and head off to a secular university full of false teachings and sin. Because they have not heard the true gospel of God’s Law, His judgment, and His grace, they take their “positive and encouraging” Christianity into a university where they are hit with false ideology, temptation, and Christianity is mocked. Like those in Matthew 13:21, they have no root in Christ (Colossians 2:6-7) and their “best life now” Christianity fails to keep them during the hour of temptation. They succumb to their flesh and abide in sin (1 John 3:6-9). They were raised on a false gospel that never preached the truth of God’s righteousness nor did they understand the truth of the cross.
3. No Accountability
One of the drawbacks of the traditional church is that so many people gather together in edifices but never know each other by name, never interact with one another, and never truly apply the “one another” passages. Because the traditional church has become a “show” instead of the Body of Christ, relationships are lacking. When a young person heads off to college, they don’t come back to church because the show is old. They are not truly saved because they never heard the true gospel and those who did were never held accountable through discipleship. Yes they attended Sunday School but one on one discipleship was missing.
In the house church movement we strongly believe in accountability. We are not a cult. We will not be in all your business but we don’t want to help people maintain a real faith in Jesus that is always growing. When we put our hands to the plow, we must not look back (Luke 9:57-62). We want to help people fight to keep their faith in Christ (Hebrews 3:12-13). We all face temptation at various levels but we all need to help each other overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). When was the last time you saw James 5:16 applied? When was the last time you saw church discipline in operation at all? People fall through the cracks in the traditional church all the time (unless they are big givers to the church and then they are missed) but in the house churches, we should care for one another deeply and pray for one another to overcome sin and temptation. A young person should feel comfortable confessing their struggles with their brothers and sisters in Christ who understand the temptations of our flesh.
Lastly, the seeker church has set itself up for many to fall away because what you win them with is what you win them to. In this case, teenagers come to your kicking church to jam to the latest worship fad songs but they never hear the hard gospel (Luke 14:25-35). They never repent of their sins (Acts 2:38). They come because a girl or guy is there they like. They come because the young pastor is cool. They come because it’s much better than the small church they came from. Soon they are there not because of Jesus or His grace or the Word but because they are being entertained.
That gets old fast. The bars near the college campuses are competing for the souls of teenagers too. They offer what the seeker church offers and more. Cool music. Cool atmosphere. Pretty girls. And oh yes, beer. The seeker church offers all these too but they try to disguise in religious tones and soon the young people are bored with your games. It’s far easier to hit the bar scene, have some drinks, meet some guys or girls and fool around. They find church boring.
The answer to this is not to become like the bars. The answer to this is to preach true salvation and allow the Holy Spirit to convict of sin. If we will stay faithful, preach the truth, He will save sinners. The life above in the bars is empty. The life above is defeating and hopeless. We must preach the Law of God and show these young people their sins (Romans 7:7). The answer is not to become a “bar church” but to preach the gospel. The gospel will save sinners (Romans 1:16-17). The gospel will deliver people from sin. The gospel will draw sinners to the Savior (John 6:44). Sin is fun for a season but we all fear death but praise God that we disciples of Jesus have the answer for that (Hebrews 2:14-15). Jesus bore our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21) and we need to preach that truth on the rooftops of every building we can find.
I had a talk this week with a hypocrite. Hypocrisy is one of the greatest dangers to the Church. So many claim to love Jesus and claim His salvation while living in blatant sin. They compromise in many areas of their lives including indulging their flesh in all types of sin. They would claim God’s grace while ignoring His serious call to holiness and purity (Matthew 5:8, 48; 1 Peter 1:15-16). They claim to know Jesus while never obeying Him as Lord (Luke 6:46-49).
This hypocrite I dealt with this week started by denying the usefulness of the Law of God in bringing sinners to salvation. He rejected the moral law of God that is still praised in the New Testament (except the Sabbath command) and he in turn tried to claim that the way to “win the world” is not by preaching the divine Law of God (1 Timothy 1:8-11) but through preaching a good God who loves us unconditionally and winks at our sins. His antinomian lies flowed from his keyboard as we interacted and I regret this wasted time that I could have been doing something more useful such as brushing my teeth.
In the end, this hypocrite exposed themselves. They begin to use ungodly language. I do not curse. I believe cursing is wrong. I believe that all filthy language is to be forsaken by the new creature we are in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). I wrote simply, “Ephesians 4:29″ to which they rejected this passage (as he did all passages essentially). Ephesians 5:4 is a passage that every disciple of Jesus should memorize and obey. When Jesus changes us, He destroys the power of sin in our lives (Romans 7:25). The Holy Spirit helps us to obey Christ (Romans 8:3-4, 7). The Holy Spirit helps us to bear fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit helps us to obey Jesus in all things (John 15:26). How can anyone claim to be “in Christ” while living in sin (Romans 6:1-4)? How can anyone claim to be “in Christ” yet not obey Jesus as Lord but instead love the world, the flesh, and the devil (1 John 2:15-17; cf. James 4:4)?
Hypocrisy is rampant. So many people fit this description. They claim Jesus on Sunday but then all week long they live in the world, filling their lives with all filth and wickedness from television to ungodly talk. Rather than seeking to glorify God in all that they say or do (Colossians 3:17), rather than living a life worthy of their calling (Ephesians 4:1), they instead claim to be a child of God while living for the devil. This hypocrisy breeds only death (Galatians 6:7-8). Sin always leads to death (James 1:12-15). Sin always produces more sin.
One aspect of hypocrisy is that people will claim Christ while never seeking Him. Spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, worship, evangelism, reading and studying the Bible, confessing sin, etc. are all ignored. This hypocrite I dealt with, I have no doubt that he never has times of intercession on his face before God. He never prays for the lost (1 Timothy 2:1-6). He never seeks to know God more in His Word through faithful studying (John 17:3). He never shares his faith (Matthew 28:19). He never preaches the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15). Hypocrites have no passion to worship Jesus just for who He is and what He has done for us. They honor Jesus with their lips but their hearts are far from Him (Mark 7:1-13).
My prayer for this man is for his salvation. I believe that he is lost. He would claim Jesus but he is not even seeking to follow Him. He clings only to God’s grace without allowing the true grace of God to transform him (Titus 2:12). He wants to be worldly, use worldly language, abide in worldly living but claim Christ. This is not the case (Luke 9:23-25). We must come to Jesus to die. We must come to Jesus and hate all things in comparison to our passion for Him (Luke 14:25-35). We may not be perfect but our passion is to be like Jesus in all ways (1 John 2:3-6). He is our everything! Not so with hypocrites. He is their key to avoid hell but He is not their Lord.
Let us pray that the Lord would save hypocrites and draw sinners to Himself using His Word (Romans 1:16-17). No doubt Jesus is a powerful Savior who can be glorified even through hypocrites repenting of their sins (Revelation 3:2).