Are you as surprised as I am at the number of people who wish to be "exempt" from what the Bible says? I am talking about people who call themselves Believers and still deny that the Bible says what it says- to them!
These are the folks who selectively pick the parts of the Bible they like and agree with and dispute the things that mean they must change their lives in some way. I thought I would just bring a few of these things to light in today's blog.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 (NASB)
and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:4 (NASB)
We give each other far, far, far too much latitude in this area. It has truly become a respectable sin to toss out a "light" curse word like "hell" or "damn" and not have too many people turn their heads. I think it is because we have become terribly desensitized to cursing in our country. There used to be seven words you could not say on television. Now all but one of those is routinely heard on prime time television shows. So when someone uses a "light" curse word rather than dropping the big bomb it sails right by almost unnoticed.
It is not only swearing that is now acceptable among Christians, but coarse talking as well. I see things posted on Facebook by people who call themselves Christians that make me just shake my head. This is not OK! But you wouldn't know it based on some of the responses I have received when I have spoken up about it!
All to often I am told that I take the Bible too seriously, that I should lighten up, and that what has been said is all in fun.
Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NASB)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NASB)
Christians are not immune to committing sexual immorality. The Greek word, pornia is used for all kinds of sexual immorality including fornication (sex outside of marriage), pornography, masturbation, and adultery. Christian men and women, boys and girls, are sharing beds with each other as "friends." Christian parents are allowing mixed gender parties where everyone sleeps over after school dances! This is not OK!
Christian couples watch pornography together as sexual foreplay, and unmarried couples share apartments and beds.
When these behaviors are pointed out as being ungodly I have been told that I am old fashioned, that "everyone does it" and that there is no harm because they are not hurting anyone. Are they nuts? I have heard every excuse in the book for this behavior and not one of them is viable.
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB)
I never cease to be amazed at the number of Christians who say they don't need to attend church. They somehow think that it is sufficient to view it on a cable channel or the internet. Now of course there are some exceptions such as illness and car trouble and snowstorms, but that is rarely the reason given for a lack of church attendance. This is not OK!
Gathering together in corporate worship is first of all a privilege. In countries where our faith is forbidden, people risk their lives to worship together as the Body of Christ. They value it and cherish it.
Corporate worship is also the means God uses to sharpen us, and round off those rough edges. There is nothing like being in the company of other sinners to bring out the areas of your sinful heart that need to be changed. The author of Hebrews knew this and told them to spur one another on to good deeds as these areas are revealed. God uses other people as tools of our sanctification.
Those who refuse to worship in church are in effect telling God they don't need the sanctification process. It is fooling yourself into believing that you are somehow special and exempt from the processes God has set in place!
The imperatives in the Bible are not for other people, they are for all of us and they are for you. There are no exceptions to God's plans and there is no other way other than God's way for the Christian. To think and act as though there is reveals an issue of pride in your heart.
Spend some time examining your heart today, and confess the areas in which you know you have sinned. Then pray for the courage to ask God to change you. Return to the Word and repent. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2) and go forth in faith and determination to honor God by how you live your life.