Tags

Bible Ballistics: Vol. 9 No.09    Abundant Life Or Adultery???

 

I have a burden on my heart today and I would like to make a brief disclaimer before I broach the issues. While I am not in any way trying to condemn, throw rocks or question any individuals personal convictions or perspective, I would desire to call us all to a Biblical view of the world around us. I am of an age that I have lived life, seen a lot of changes in this world—some good, some not so good—and I have seen many of these changes affect the people of God because we, as the people of God—Christians, believers in Jesus, and followers of God’s Word–have not affected our world but have rather often succumbed to the appeal of the flesh. And there is a very real call of the flesh, because we still live in a body of flesh, and in a broken world that calls to that flesh.

By faith Moses,

when he was come to years,

refused to be called the son

of Pharaoh’s daughter;

25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction

with the people of God,

than to enjoy

the pleasures of sin

for a season;

26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ

greater riches than the treasures in Egypt:

for he had respect unto the recompence

of the reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26

Moses made a decision to forsake the call of the world he lived in—Egypt—for the call of God, in view of the eternal consequences. A principle that many seem to have lost sight of, that we will reap the consequences of our choices. We can choose to walk in the way of the world, but there is a consequence to every choice, and God is the judge and consequence setter, not man!

Be not deceived;

God is not mocked:

for whatsoever a man soweth,

that shall he also reap.

For he that soweth to his flesh

shall of the flesh reap corruption;

but he that soweth to the Spirit

shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”     Galatians 6:7-8

Paul reminds us that life is a matter of choices—choices of where, how, when and what we sow! The thing that has escaped many, and is escaping the world around us today (Both inside and outside of the church!), is that while God has given us the freedom to choose, He is the one who has set the consequences. I am a free moral agent by the creation and order of God, but God Himself tells us that there are consequences for every choice. If we continually sow to the flesh (What our body and mind desires.) instead of to the ‘Spirit’ of God, willreap corruption”. Yet there is a principle of temporary corruption and a principle of eternal corruption. If we reject Jesus Christ as the One and Only way to God, through His death, burial and resurrection for our sin, we will suffer the eternal corruption of Hell. But even believers, who have been born again by the Spirit of Christ, can make choices that bring consequences which won’t separate us from God eternally, but which can bring us the discipline of God and/or a corruption of our life, our testimony, our service, and/or our influence on those around us. Are your deeds reflecting the goodness of God, or the ‘corruption’ of evil/sin?

For God so loved the world,

that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish,

but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son

into the world

to condemn the world;

but that the world

through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him

is not condemned:

but he that believeth not

is condemned already,

because he hath not believed

in the name

of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation,

that light is come into the world,

and men loved darkness

rather than light,

because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil

hateth the light,

neither cometh to the light,

lest his deeds should be reproved.

21 But he that doeth truth

cometh to the light,

that his deeds

may be made manifest,

that they are wrought

in God.” John 3:16-21

What do your deeds reflect? What price have you and I put on our testimony? How important is “sowing to the Spirit” to us? What choices are we making that may ‘corrupt’ our future influence, testimony, service and usefulness to God? What do our choices reveal? Are our deeds “wrought in God” or sown to the “flesh”? It will show! James gives us insight into the dilemma, and remember James is talking to believers not the lost!!!

From whence come wars and fightings

among you?

come they not hence,

even of your lusts

that war in your members?

Ye lust,

and have not:

ye kill,

and desire to have,

and cannot obtain:

ye fight

and war,

yet ye have not,

because ye ask not.

Ye ask,

and receive not,

because ye ask amiss,

that ye may consume it

upon your lusts.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses,

know ye not

that the friendship of the world

is enmity with God?

whosoever therefore

will be a friend of the world

is the enemy of God.

Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain,

The spirit that dwelleth in us

lusteth to envy?

But he giveth more grace.

Wherefore he saith,

God resisteth the proud,

but giveth grace unto the humble.

Submit yourselves therefore to God.

Resist the devil,

and he will flee from you.

Draw nigh to God,

and he will draw nigh to you.

Cleanse your hands,            ye sinners;

and purify your hearts,       ye double minded.”     James 4:1-8

Let’s peruse this passage from the bottom up. James’ conclusion is that we (Believers) should:

Submit to God—

Resist the devil—and he will flee.

Draw near to God—and HE will draw near to you.

Cleanse your hands—of the sin in our lives.

Purify our hearts—of the duplicity we are living in.

All because God:

Resists the proud

But gives grace to the humble!

And to whom is James speaking? He is speaking to believers that are not only living IN the world, but living LIKE the world! They are:

Fighting—

Warring with others—

Lusting—

Having murderous thoughts—

Asking for worldly things rather than godly things!

Oh, kind of like our culture? James is talking to a people who have been distracted by the world they lived in. As we read the entirety of the book, we see that they have been distracted by pride, wealth, discrimination and lack of wisdom. They have focused on what they think they “know” rather than Who they know or allowing HIM to be seen in their lives/behavior. What is seen in our lives? What do our lifestyle choices tell the world about us? About our God?

One of the things that James seems to be emphasizing is that we must “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”, yet we seem to have rejected this command from God and decided that if we join “the devil” and use his tactics we can win the lost! NOT!!! We will never, ever win the world apart from doing things GOD’s way! Jesus tells us what our worldly efforts can accomplish.

Abide in me,

and I in you.

As the branch cannot bear fruit

of itself,

except it abide in the vine;

no more can ye,

except ye abide in me.

I am the vine,

ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me,

and I in him,

the same bringeth forth much fruit:

for without me ye can do nothing.”    John 15:4-5

We can “do nothing” without doing it in God’s power, or without doing it by abiding IN HIM! We must, I repeat, we must return to the truth and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must stand with Paul in this single-mindedness!

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Paul understood that the power was of God, and that only when we go in the power of God do things really happen that are of life-changing, eternal value. We have settled for “fast-food” Christianity that has very little semblance to Biblical salvation. It has been sanitized, humanized, and uniformized to make a convenient, “happy” meal, carry out, live like the world idea, that has produced a “vain” faith that is based on the ‘goodness’ of and ‘convenience’ for man rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the blood that He shed to “save his people from their sins”. In fact many today have completely eliminated the issue of sin, and replaced it with the Gospel of “Self” esteem. No dealing with sin, so there really isn’t any necessity for a redeemer, for the blood of the Lamb, or His resurrection, and we certainly don’t need to live in light of His Word, or His return to claim His own. We have forgotten the words that Jesus spoke.

Not every one that saith unto me,

Lord, Lord,

shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;

but he that doeth the will of my Father

which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day,

Lord, Lord,

have we not prophesied in thy name?

and in thy name have cast out devils?

and in thy name done

many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them,

I never knew you:

depart from me,

ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23

My translation—‘saying so, doesn’t make it so! Jesus came to save us from our sin, and to give us eternal life. But eternal life doesn’t start when we die and go to heaven; it starts when we receive Jesus Christ and become a new creature.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

We are not only “a new creature”, but because we have received the salvation of God, and the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are also “ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God”, because of verse 21:

For he hath made him

to be sin for us,

who knew no sin;

that we might be made

the righteousness of God

in him.

Real Bible proclaimed, heaven sent salvation is the transformation of a sinner into a saint! It is God accepting the sacrifice of Jesus for my sin! It is God accounting me as having the right standing of His righteousness IN Jesus, a new creature, with a new heart and a new ability to walk in God’s Spirit, and not the flesh. But it’s our choice. I still can sin, but I don’t have to. I have the power of God to:

Submit yourselves therefore to God.

Resist the devil,

and he will flee from you.

Draw nigh to God,

and he will draw nigh to you.

So now the part where I may loose some of you, as I simply lay some issues of our world and our culture out for you to assess and take before God to see if they are of the “world” or of “God”? I’m not dictating what anyone’s convictions ought to be. I’m not talking about differences of opinion about what any specific scripture means, but I would like to simply call us all (Myself at the top of the list.) to examine our lives, and our choices and perceptions in light of what God has said, not what the culture is saying, has said or may say in the future. What changes have we accepted in the last 50-75 years? What is our response to sin? How has it changed, and are those changes pleasing to God? Have we drawn “nigh to God”, or have we jumped on the train with the devil, and bought his interpretation of life, sin and death?

What has happened to marriage? Do we accept things now that we didn’t accept in the past? (I’m talking about the sin not the sinner—Jesus called sin, sin, but He loved and reached out to sinners. Yet He never left them in their sin. Remember it is sin that HE came to save us “FROM”!) Divorce is now the ‘simple’ solution that we have cleaned up and approved when God hasn’t changed His Word. We have allowed Satan to rob us of our family structure, and look what has happened to our children because of it.

For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away:” Malachi 2:16

Putting away is divorce, and God defined marriage as one man and one woman until death parts them:

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matthew 19:4-6 (Also see Genesis 2:18-25)

What about drugs and alcohol (Which is just a legal drug!)? We have excused ourselves from the issue by turning a blind eye to the issue of sin—any/all sin. We have often ceased to call believers to walk in the Spirit not the flesh, after all, “Who am I to judge”? Well friends, I’m not anyone to judge, but I am to share scriptural truth with all, even those taken in a fault—in kindness, love and compassion.

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” Ephesians 4:14-15

Grow up, stop being deceived by the enemy and judging things by your lusts and the world’s standard, and seek God’s counsel from The Word.

Wherefore be ye not unwise,

but understanding what the will

of the Lord is.

18 And be not drunk with wine,

wherein is excess;

but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in

psalms

and hymns

and spiritual songs,

singing and making melody

in your heart to the Lord;”    Ephesians 4:17-19

We are to be controlled/pervaded by “the Spirit” not by substances that we put into our bodies, no matter what they are (I’m not talking about medical needs!). What’s your ‘drug’ of choice? Are we “filled” (controlled, pervaded by) with the “Spirit” or the ‘spirits’? Is our speech slurred by the control of alcohol (or whatever) or are our heart and tongue speaking spiritual things from God unto others?

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”    Colossians 4:5-6

Well it’s time to jump from “preaching to meddling”, as they say, but I simply want to ask you to consider some things in light of what God says—not me, then take it to Jesus. The point I want to make is that we need to be “proving” ourselves before God in light of what HE has said, not what man condones and promotes. That’s it!

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”     1 Peter 2:5

As obedient children,

not fashioning yourselves

according to the former lusts

in your ignorance:

15 But as he which hath called you

is holy,

so be ye holy

in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written,

Be ye holy;

for I am holy.

17 And if ye call on the Father,

who without respect of persons

judgeth according to every man’s work,

pass the time of your sojourning here

in fear:

18 Forasmuch as ye know that

ye were not redeemed

with corruptible things,

as silver

and gold,

from your vain conversation

received by tradition

from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ,

as of a lamb

without blemish

and without spot:” 1 Peter 1:14-19

So in light of what Jesus has done, will you consider some life choices along with me?

Modesty: regard for decency of behavior… and dress.

Do we dress to be pleasing to God or to cause others to envy our attire, or cause the opposite sex to lust after us?

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10

 Are we living moral lives? Do we hold to the Biblical standard of purity—no premarital sex, no extra marital sex, no homosexual sex, no pornography, and nothing that promotes or leads to these things?

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” 1 Corinthians 7:8-9

Paul tells us that singleness is good, but it is better to marry than to burn with lust—but he does qualify that with the command that we are not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers”. The overriding principle is that we are to seek God’s face in all things—if we are single we are to live holy and chaste lives. If we are married we are to live chaste, faithful and holy lives with our spouse.

What are you doing with your sexuality? Does it match God’s standard? I find it interesting that today, there are as many, if not more, senior couples co-habiting without benefit of marriage than there are young couples. What has happened to us when we put “the check” over morality?

What about our language? We live in a vulgar and lewd culture, and many professing Christians have the vocabulary of the gutter instead of holiness.

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” 1 Cor. 15:33-34

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:29-30

And a few things to just pique (as my pastor says) your ‘ability for abstract thinking’! And remember what I said earlier—take it to Jesus, with a heart truly open to hear what HE has to say—even if it hurts for a time.

Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. 28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:27-28

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. 36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.” Leviticus 19:35-36

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:35-37

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11

So my friends are you ready to live an “abundant life” in Jesus, or will you continue to pursue what James calls the “adulterous” life that is not pleasing to God? Have you given in to the thief of your soul? Or will you walk in victorious, abundant holiness by the power of Jesus? Enemy of friend? It’s your choice!

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133