Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Timely Response

Hey guys,

This is going to be a little off my usual posting subjects so please bear with me.

I was over at To Give an Answer last night where I found this article from the London Times. This article sights various polls and data to conclude that "religious" nations such as the United States have worse rates of "social ills"(teenage pregnancy, crime rates, abortion, and STD infection, etc.) then more secular nations like the UK. Please give this article a quick read and then come back.

Startling, is it not? Why would a nation with more people who claim to be Christian, have greater amounts of sin acting within those same people? Let's have a look.

What is the first thing you must do to come to Christ? Your eyes must be opened to the fear of the Lord.

Prov 1:7 ¶ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What is the fear of the Lord?

Prov 8:13a "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;

When a sinner learns that there is a God out there and he punishes sinners with burning death forever, if that sinner receives that truth, he will become fearful of the Lord's wrath. Then he will come to hate the sin that condemns him to eternal destruction. He will reads verses like:

Jer 15:7 "I will winnow them with a winnowing fork At the gates of the land; I will bereave {them} of children, I will destroy My people; They did not repent of their ways.

He fights against that sin alone but to no avail.

Gal 2:21 "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness {comes} through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."

This increases his terror of judgment. He cries out to the Lord saying "Lord, let me turn from my wicked ways!" "Change me, oh God, who is my hope!" He expresses his hate for his sin and his utter rejection of it, he seeks the Lord's help, he humbles himself. He is repenting.

Repentance - a change of mental and spiritual habit respecting sin, involving a hatred of and sorrow because of it, and a genuine abandonment of it in conduct of life.

James 4:6b "..."God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Now, with his heart crying out to God in humility, the Lord gives him grace and forgiveness. and says:

Ezek 18:31 "Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel?
Ezek 18:32 "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. "Therefore, repent and live."

Grace - the gift of God inhering in the soul, by which men are enabled to perform righteous acts.

He is now free from the bonds of sin that once bound him! He now seeks the Lord through His Holy Word, the Bible. He must know how the Lord who freed him wants him to stay free. He goes to a well-meaning local church, where after a week or two of attendance, he finds that the pastors daughter has had a child out of wedlock. He questions a member of the church asking how this could be allowed within the church. The church goer replies; "Well, nobody's perfect. Its a good thing she got saved back in '99" The man asks "How can she be living under the Lords protection and still be practicing these things?" "The Lord speaks very strongly against such activities." "Look mister, the church goer replys, "At least she is going to heaven, no one can go a day with out sin anyway." The man returns home in shock at what he has seen and heard. Is it true that no man can stop sinning and all you must do is be covered by this "grace" yet, continue in sin?
He returns home and begins to study his Bible in great depth. One day while reading through Romans, (one of the things he had heard in that church was the Romans road to salvation) he goes past the verses the church gave him and reads on into chapter 12. Four verses seem to jump out at him,

Rom 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, {which is} your spiritual service of worship.
Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Rom 12:9 ¶ {Let} love {be} without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.


Rom 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

Ah ha! He says to himself. They didn't read far enough. The "Roman's Road" goes on a bit farther than they thought. But, how can I be perfect? I am just a simple man.

Still thinking about that church, he flips back to a section of Luke.

Luke 12:1 Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first {of all,} "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Luke 12:2 "But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
Luke 12:3 "Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.
Luke 12:4 ¶ "I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.
Luke 12:5 "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!

He looks for more verses on the Pharisees and finds,

Luke 11:39 But the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.

Matt 23:25 ¶ "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.

Matt 23:26 "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

He says, " I understand now!" Those people back at that church look like Christians on the outside, but inside they are full of sin and unrighteousness! Well, phooy, if they messed up, what chance have I to live my life without sin as the Lord commands? Now, where was that commandment...oh here it is!

John 5:14 Afterward Jesus *found him in the temple and said to him, "Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you."

Phil 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,
Phil 1:10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;

1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;

Col 3:5 ¶ Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
Col 3:6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,
Col 3:7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
Col 3:8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, {and} abusive speech from your mouth.
Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its {evil} practices,
Col 3:10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

But, Lord, He said, how can I be sinless? I tried that before and I failed. Then a verse jumped out at him.

Rom 8:31 ¶ What then shall we say to these things? If God {is} for us, who {is} against us?

WOW! I see now! With the Lord on my side, I can overcome sin! What I couldn't do on my own Christ can do through me! It is possible to live without sin! One last verse caught his eye.

Phil 3:12 ¶ Not that I have already obtained {it} or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

This man, has great spiritual understanding for this day and time. How does this apply to the Times article? Let me explain.

America is full of church's, and a vast majority of our nation's population claims to be Christian, but are these people really hearing the saving true gospel that instructs a person to put away sin for good? Or are church's like the church our friend visited? A church that looks clean on the outside, but inside is dirty with sin? Are they hearing the Word when it says,

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, {he is} a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

There should be a change in a persons life when they come to Christ. It is people like the Pharisees who give sinners reason to curse the Lord as David did in his sin with Bathseba. The true Word of God changes a persons conduct and way of life. Let's look at a person floating out in the world, they sin and they think about joining a church. But, then one day they see the pastor of the congregation in open sin. They think, "Man, that guy in into sin deeper then I am and he is supposed to be spiritual, I don't want any part of that, I can deal with sin better myself." And they become an atheist or a agnostic because of that church's hypocrisy.

This is a somber post today guys, but I feel this had to be said. If the one true church is becoming perverted in America, what hope have we for our nation?

The Blogging Boy Scout,

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