We will examine two of the warnings this week. Then check back next week to read more.
1. BEWARE: BACKSLIDING ZONE AHEAD
Sin unchecked is like a cancer. It grows and develops, and it can claim a soul.
- Anger can become bitterness and wrath, hate and a murderous spirit, and such people are not saved (I John 3:11-12; Jude 1:11; Heb. 12:15; Eph. 4:31).
- Lust can take over a soul until one secretly obsesses and becomes controlled by the lust of the flesh – and in that condition, he has forfeited his salvation (Prov. 11:6; Rom. 1:24-27; 6:12).
- Division and strife are the marks of the Evil One, and such people are not a part of the Kingdom of God (I Cor. 3:3; Jude 1:19; Gal. 5:20-22).
- That those who espouse heresy are not in the Kingdom – and should be exposed for pointing people down a path that leads to destruction? (Rom. 16:16-18; I John 1:7).
The Bible says,
As they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them (Rom. 1:28-32).
The cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Rev. 21:8).
Such people will not enter into heaven. They will not be found there. Paul warns that “the spirit and the flesh are contrary to one another!” The “works of the flesh” Paul says “are evident” – they can be observed – “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.” And Paul notes, “I told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
How can it be any plainer? “The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived!” (I Cor. 6:9) You must “Flee sexual immorality” (I Cor. 6:18). Some sins you run from. You “flee from idolatry” (I Cor. 10:14). Paul urges the same of Timothy. If you want to be a “man of God” you must “flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, patience, gentleness” and the like (I Tim. 6:11).
2. TAKE HEED: PRACTICE FATIGUES REQUIRED
The idea of ‘positional righteousness’ looms so large in the current thinking of the American church that we no longer feel any need to actually, with effort, and energy, ‘pursue practical righteousness.” We are passive. Christ has done it all on the cross. Nothing is demanded of us. On the contrary, some things must be soundly displaced, a distance established, a detachment achieved, if other things are to be effectively embraced and incarnated. Timothy, and any others who want to follow the precepts and practices of Paul, as he follows Christ, must “flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22). Love should compel us, not law. And yet, the New Testament is not without law – something we rarely note or hear emphasized. Moses gave Ten Commandments. How many did Jesus give? He gave some 49 commands! He did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. Not to impose it on us, over us, but to inject it in us by regeneration. Our gratitude for the cross should cause us to put away the sins that were laid on him at Calvary. We must, as the brother of Jesus urges, “submit to God,” which demands a simultaneous act of “resisting the devil!” Only then will Satan flee from us (James 4:7).
Such discussions, such teaching and preaching, is barely allowed in the American church today. At the mention of sin and worldliness, of a holy God that judges, of moral order in the church and the need for discipline, we are pummeled with a rebuke that demands that we not judge – but have we not missed the meaning of the passage? The passage, from the lips of Jesus that is most often quoted – “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Mt. 7:1) is in context a warning, not about judging, or church discipline, or discerning, but about being ‘judgmental,” about a haughty, arrogant, rush to condemn others while ignoring one’s self.
Check back next week to read more.
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