April 28, 2016
There’s a trend today for Christians to not be ashamed over sinful lifestyles and choices. This might be expected within the secular world, but these ways of life shouldn’t be embraced by Christians. We claim to follow Jesus and that claim carries responsibility. We like to quote Scripture and make ourselves seem holy and in love with Jesus, but our actions speak louder than our words. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16. Many Christians are proud to claim this verse, and rightly so, but living as if you’re unashamed of Him takes commitment. Too often when temptation comes along we cave into anger or lust of the flesh. Our flesh gets in the way of honoring God and our actions say “I’m ashamed of Christ. I choose to follow the god of this world”.
Spiritual hygiene is important to a Christian. Just as we need to get the dirt out from under our fingernails in physical hygiene we need to get the dirt out from our spiritual life. How do we do that? We need to desire to follow Christ and not be afraid to go against friends and family. If you’re a Christian and are having sexual relations outside of a one man/one woman marriage, listen to secular music, enjoy pornography, use foul language, dress in a provocative, etc., then you need to get the dirt out of your life. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. John got right to the heart of the matter. If you can embrace carnal ways of the world then do you really love God? What are the things in the world that we aren’t to love? Puppies? Hot fudge sundaes? No, John is talking about deeper things. Satan is the god of this world, so things
that are opposed to God are things of the world. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:16-17. Works of the flesh will pass away, along with the temporary pleasure they may bring, but honoring God will bring eternal peace and rewards. The temptations around us are strong, but they are all of Satan. If you drown yourself in things that are inspired by Satan, such as illegal drugs or drunkenness, then you will soon succumb to more lusts of the flesh. Secular music of today is just plain evil and glorifies sin. No Christian should listen to any of it. Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and so on are people who need our prayers, but not our attention. Their songs glorify sin in many forms. Katy Perry sings of desiring sexual encounters with extraterrestrials and demons and Rihanna sings of killing and bathing in blood. Brothers and sisters, it’s time to take an unashamed stand for Christ. Be ashamed of activities these pitiful, lost human beings sing about, but don’t be ashamed of Christ. The same is true of television and movies. Satan is behind the entertainment industry and I urge everyone to turn off the television.
Christians need fellowship with other Christians to encourage each other to honor God. Many people like to say that they don’t need to go to “church” in order to worship Christ. That’s true. On the other hand, what do you do instead? Do you worship Him while you’re out fishing or at the mall shopping? It’s easier to join the world in sin if you don’t have the grounding afforded by Christian fellowship. Most people who say they have no need to join a congregation in worship never study their Bible and slip into the ways of the world. Without Bible study it’s easy to go to bed with your “significant other” or accept homosexuality as normal because you have no moral guide. How many young girls do you know who are pregnant but not married, yet they claim to be Christians? Chances are they’ve stopped attending a Christ centered fellowship of believers, listen to secular music, and watch television shows that make sin look like fun. The problem goes far beyond sexual sin, but that is a major problem today. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 Jon 1:6-7. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from sin, but that doesn’t give us a license to continue to choose to sin. You may not be ashamed of Christ, but is He ashamed of you? If you choose to follow Satan in sin then you might want to search out the answer to that question.
There’s a fine line between driving everyone who sins out of our congregations and standing firm on God’s expectations for Christians. If we run everyone out who sins there would be nobody in the pews or in the pulpit. We all sin. So what do we do about it? We begin by recognizing the sin in our own life and turn to God for forgiveness and help to overcome it. When Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians he addressed many issues in that congregation that were opposed to God. One that he was particularly upset with was fornication. “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:1-2. The congregation in Corinth was “puffed up” (proud) about this, as if it was a good thing. Times haven’t changed much since Paul wrote that letter. Sin is seldom addressed from the pulpit and so fornication and other sins are “accepted”. It’s time that Christians stop being ashamed to live according to Biblical morality and live for Christ.
The problem of people giving lip service to God isn’t new. Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, God said “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” Isaiah 29:13. Both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms turned their hearts from God. They turned to idols and the sin that goes along with idol worship. Ultimately they ignored the commandments of God and they only honored Him with words. Time has passed since then but not much has changed. We may mouth the words “I am a Christian” but our hearts are removed from serving Him. Jesus told a parable which compared the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed which a man sowed in his field. “Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” Matthew 13:32. In this parable, the birds of the air symbolize Satan and his minions whose evil ways are taking hold in our congregations and drawing Christians into sin. Isaiah had written to people who had removed their hearts from God and Jesus told of sin taking hold amongst God’s people. We give lip service to Christ, but honor Satan with our actions. Sin is not addressed because the “birds of the air” are infiltrating the Christian leadership and trickling down to the individuals sitting in the pews who claim to be Christians. Like Paul wrote to the Corinthians “… And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned“. Shame on us.
Jesus doesn’t take sin lightly. “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation: of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.“Mark 8:38. He hears everything you say and sees everything you do. He even knows what you think. If you claim that you believe in Him then act like it and honor Him with your choices in life. It might cost you a friendship or your family may turn against you, but if you love Jesus then you will unashamedly stand for Him, not for the world. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. Open your Bible and start reading. Then live as if you aren’t ashamed of Jesus.
Brethren, stop “playing church” by just giving Jesus lip service. Take a stand against sin by living set apart lives that please Him. “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” 1 John 2:28. The Rapture will happen soon. Before that call comes ask yourself if you have truly accepted Christ for salvation. If you can happily continue in sin you might be unhappily surprised by the answer to that question. If you’re ashamed to follow Him now will He be ashamed of you when you stand before His judgment seat? His love and forgiveness are unlimited, but if you’re ashamed to live for Him maybe you haven’t truly accepted His free gift of salvation.
Jesus gave His life to pay the price to redeem you from sin. He wasn’t ashamed to go to the cross and shed His pure blood for your redemption. Are you ashamed of Him? If you aren’t then start living for Him now.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.