Before we become too indignant we need to consider how easily we, too, can become ensnared in this deception. You may be in the midst of a sin but you have been justifying it because of circumstances surrounding it. God’s Word does not justify sin in any manner or form. But the worldview is that sin is not sin, wrong is not wrong and right is no longer right! So because of pride we easily align ourselves with the reasoning that the sin is no big deal and no one has the right to call it sin, including God, because we have a good reason for doing what we are doing!
The effect of sin in our life is devastating. In order to drown out the Holy Spirit’s conviction we shut the door and silence Him. Then our heart becomes hardened because we are no longer walking in intimacy with the Lord. Oh, we will never admit that! We will continue to preach to others about how God is working in our lives but the undertone of each word spoken is filled with accusation and contempt. Even praising God takes on a spirit of pride. The enemy has no problem with our praising God when we are in sin because he has disguised himself as an angel of light and the whole point is to keep us in spiritual darkness. He is well aware that the sin and rebellion has separated us from intimacy with God and he now can use you as his vessel toward dividing the body of Christ.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) What are myths? Secular agendas, new age philosophy, contemplative prayer and yoga are a few examples.
The intent during our time together this week is not to create a list of “sins” that plague us today and divide the body of Christ. That’s not my job, I’m called to bring forth Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to open up our blind eyes, soften our hearts of stone and create a new heart in us that reflects the heart of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:10)
There is a very interesting verse in the Gospel of John that we need to contemplate at this moment. Jesus was talking with the Pharisees, the religious leaders, and they claimed to know God and to know His will. But Jesus’ response to them certainly should make us pause and ask the Lord if there is any of this same deceit in us. “Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, “We see,” your sin remains.’” (John 9:41) Jesus was telling these Pharisee leaders that they would not see the Kingdom of God, it also has that same message for us today. There are many who are well versed in Scripture but have no relationship with Jesus. They know about Him, they can quote Scripture and, unfortunately, act as a judge and condemn anything and anyone that disagrees with them and they will claim their stance is scriptural, when in fact there is no scriptural basis on which they are standing. These are the tares. “and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;” (Matthew 13:38) But listen to what Jesus has to say regarding them, “Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:30) Don’t misunderstand what Jesus is saying, He wasn’t saying that it is okay to allow sin to abound, but we are to remember that ours is a spiritual battle, not a fleshly battle. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
We are to stand for the truth and nothing but the truth. And, yes, I do believe that we definitely need discernment ministries that can properly expose those who are leading the sheep astray. I am very thankful for these faithful believers. I often will have a check in my spirit and know that someone’s teaching is not correct. As I search these sites for additional information I am often overwhelmed by the extent of what I find. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. It has saved me from numerous erroneous paths that lead away from the Lord our God. On a one on one basis, that you and I have, we must follow Jesus as well. Confronting someone’s false teaching is difficult for most of us and we MUST be submitted to prayer before any attempt is made to talk with this person. However, I caution you to only proceed as the Holy Spirit leads you. Facebook and Twitter and other public media sites are not the appropriate venues. The enemy loves these public venues! “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.” (2 Timothy 2:23) Remember, true believers will glorify God in both words and actions!
There is also another message for those who are the true believers. For one who has no knowledge that what they have done or are doing is sin, they are to be taught the Word so they can see their error and repent. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,” (1 Peter 1:14) God’s grace always gives us the opportunity for repentance! But if we are a mature believer and insist that we know the Word but intentionally walk in a sin without repentance, there will be a judgment when we stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat.
With that last thought in mind, let me ask you a question. What is our life on earth to be? It is to be a witness or testimony of the glory of God! But what happens when we ignore the sin in our own life? That sin leavens everything around us, including our testimony. “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:6-7) “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” (Galatians 5:9) Please read the account in 1 Corinthians 5. Remember that the Apostle Paul was taken up into the third heaven and taught by the Lord Himself. He has told us in his writings that he was instructed to not tell us everything he saw and heard. “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows-- was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) Can you imagine how this impacted his ministry? The strong words that he spoke in 1 Corinthians 5 are a grave warning to us of the dire impact sin truly has on our lives!
We are also warned that one cannot be be in intimacy with the Lord and continue to boast. Notice that in the above Scripture the Apostle Paul warns us that “Your boasting is not good.” This is not something new that the Apostle Paul made up, it is a foundation of our faith. You will find throughout Scripture that the Lord speaks of only one acceptable boasting, all else is pride and sin. “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.” (Psalms 20:7) “My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice.” (Psalms 34:2) “‘but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:24) “so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.’" (1 Corinthians 1:31) “But HE WHO BOASTS IS TO BOAST IN THE LORD.” (2 Corinthians 10:17) “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14 emphasis mine) “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 emphasis mine)
Jesus further expounded on this boasting and sinful behavior, "You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (Matthew 12:34 emphasis mine) Let’s pause here a minute. I believe this is a critical verse that we need to not only understand but allow the Holy Spirit to put up a mirror for us to see and hear our words and the impact they are having on others. Whenever I say something unkind it is because I am exposing what is going on in my heart. I may be upset with someone or some situation and it taints my whole outlook. It often builds up into resentment, that I am trying to suppress, but when I open my mouth it often comes pouring out. If I were to begin speaking Scriptures at this same time I would really be making a mockery of the Lord! I would not be a living testimony of His goodness! If we dwell on these feelings or thoughts it will bring a separation between us and the Lord. We must acknowledge our thoughts then repent. Here’s my daily prayer so that I might not sin against the Lord and bring shame upon Him. “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalms 141:3) We, like the Apostle Paul must acknowledge a very unpleasant truth, and thus be on guard at all times so that it does not overtake us. “I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.” (Romans 7:21)
For clarity purposes we need to put this passage of Scripture into proper context. When we are truly saved we become a new creation in Christ Jesus. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:3-14 emphasis mine) The words underlined loudly remind us that we have a CHOICE to submit and have the Lord Jesus Christ be LORD of our lives or to go on sinning and not surrender to Him. A true believer cannot be possessed by the devil but he can be influenced and used by him. So when the Apostle Paul speaks of the evil present in him, he is speaking about the desires of the flesh, thoughts of the mind. These things can easily bring to life the old nature in us!
We, like the Apostle Paul must surrender our entire lives to Christ in order to walk in fellowship and obedience. Years ago the Lord gave me the following verse that became my life verse. I wish that I could say that I live it perfectly, but I am not perfect and will not be until I am in the presence of the Lord. But it is a constant reminder to me of who I am. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20) How do we do that? “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;” (Philippians 3:7-10) “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. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
My dear friends, the days are quickly becoming more dark and filled with evil. I believe the time of the Lord Jesus’s return is near and He will be returning for His bride. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21) “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’" (1 Peter 1:15-16) “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Revelation 19:8) "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." (Revelation 19:7) Will you be ready?
Abba Father, thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ which is our only hope for salvation. He is the way, the truth and the life which we all desire but few choose to follow the narrow path to salvation and the eternal Kingdom! Your Word brings life to our bodies and light to the world, to a very dark world. It is only through Your grace that we can stand for the truth! Your grace is sufficient! This world is not our home. Jesus told us that if we were to follow Him that we had to pick up our cross. The cross brings death to the flesh but life to the spirit! In order to live for You we must die daily, our life is not our own, we live and move and breath only because of Your life in us. Thank You, Abba, for the strong foundation that You have given us. Bind us together Lord to encourage one another that the deception of the evil one would be exposed and not ensnare us. Your words are sweeter than honey to our lips, we delight to be in Your presence. Open our eyes to see new and wonderful things in Your Word! Thank You that You are our anchor and though we stand in the midst of a battlefield, the battle is Yours. Protect our hearts from the fiery arrows. Thank You that You have sent angels to watch over us. We long to be with You in Your Kingdom. Continue to lead us in Your ways of holiness that we may make ourselves ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! May Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven! All this I pray in the blessed name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen!
And He said to the disciples, "