It’s physical, only logical; you must try to ignore, that it means more than that.
I was speaking at a local fellowship recently as a part of their twentieth-anniversary celebration. It is good to look back and be reminded of God’s faithfulness toward us. Often we only see His guiding hand in retrospect. One of the points I stressed to those in attendance was the need to couple perseverance with faithfulness to God.
Perseverance is an admirable quality but without faithfulness to God, it is really meaningless. People persevere in the wrong things all the time. Faithfulness to God makes perseverance meaningful.
Faithfulness to God includes faithfulness to His revealed word to us. That means that we study the Bible to understand what God has said and then we order our lives accordingly. This is a straightforward truth with no ambiguity. Psalm 119:4 makes this clear: “Thou hast ordained Thy precepts, that we should keep them diligently.”
The temptation is to order our lives according to what is convenient for us. Sometimes personal comfort is a factor. People naturally resist making decisions and taking public stands on issues that they perceive as “out of step” with their social context for fear of rebuttal, rebuke, or loss of esteem among their peers. Other times the pressure of wanting to maintain a friendship or other relationship becomes of primary concern. Regardless of the reason, when Christians deviate from the clear teaching of the Bible they are compromising their faith and bringing reproach to God’s name among the heathen. King David knew this well from experience. He cried out to God, “May those who wait for Thee not be ashamed through me, O Lord God of hosts; May those who seek Thee not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel” (Psalm 69:6 NASB).
Mankind has already experienced the violent and devastating consequences of abandoning God’s word for what is convenient. It was the serpent who suggested to Eve that there was wiggle room in the interpretation and certainly the application of God’s commands. “Has God said?” was meant to cause Eve to question God’s integrity and His love for her. A good and loving God wouldn’t withhold anything from His creation if they earnestly desire it would He? That was the seed of doubt Satan planted in Eve’s mind that led to confusion that resulted in a tragic choice to disobey the clear command of God.
After the fiery dart of doubt that Satan delivered found Eve’s heart, she took a second look at the tree and “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6). This is the consequence of denying the clear teaching of God’s word: you will make decisions that you see as personally beneficial for any number of reasons, with little to no thought of the consequences for yourself or others. It is an act of presuming upon the love of God and expecting Him to understand.
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
Several factors have come together over a short period of time that has impacted the church negatively. One factor is the abandonment of the teaching of the word of God. Many pastors have simply stopped teaching the Bible. Instead, they teach pop-psychology, new age universalism, and hobby-horse themed series that they believe help people “where they are.” Far too many pastors now determine the course of the church’s teaching, education, and equipping ministries based on the “felt needs” of congregants.
What do the felt needs of people have to do with teaching them what the Bible says? How has this strategy of appealing to people’s flesh come to pass as an equivalent for expounding the Scriptures? Why are pastors fashioning their teaching ministries based on what they are convinced people need in the emotional and/or psychological realm?
I believe pastors do this for very simple reasons. First, pastors think if they appeal to things that interest people then they will become engaged in his and the church’s ministry. They will “feel” invested and will then be more likely to participate in other things. Second, telling people what they want to hear or believe they need to hear, keeps them coming back and when people come back then the opportunity for the financing of other church ministries is increased. Third, and the most serious error pastors make is to believe that attempting to address people’s felt needs is actually ministry to them. But, in the process of employing these strategies pastors abandon the clear teaching of the Scriptures on nearly every subject. This last issue is really the crux of the matter. Pastors have lost faith in the Bible. Pastors do not trust the Word of God any longer. The Bible is seen more as a launching point that gives a cover of propriety for the most egregious anti-God and certainly anti-biblical nonsense the church has ever witnessed.
The basis for this mass confusion in the pulpits of America is that pastors are not teaching truth but appealing to experience. What I mean by that is pastors have fallen prey to the ubiquitous fog of postmodernism. Truth as proposition, truth as something that can be known, as something that is unchanging regardless of the time, place, or people has been completely abandoned. Experience as subjective truth has triumphed over objective truth in American pulpits.
Pastors have adopted the strategies mentioned above in spite of the many exhortations, admonishments, encouragements, and warnings against abandoning the Bible. Consequently, many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ have given up living by the truths, statutes, laws, and precepts of God. Their reasoning is that if the pastor doesn’t think it is important then they shouldn’t either. What’s really important, they are told, is to know how much God loves them. Pastors are quick to assure their congregants that God desires that they live a happy, well-adjusted life.
Much of the American church today is totally absorbed with a form of therapeutic deism. God has become a “god of my needs.” He is taken down from the shelf when there is a need and replaced when the crisis passes. The Israelites were judged severely for their idolatry. Will American Christians escape the same consequence for their idolatry?
“But God loves me so much that He wants me to be happy.” Is that the love of God? Is God’s focus, His ultimate desire for us, that we be happy? Examining much of the landscape of Christendom today gives that impression. The central message of the church in America today is the love of God. His love is best-illustrated people are told, in His desire that they be happy. Thus, whatever makes someone happy must be the will of God for them. Let’s follow that demonic logic to its rotten conclusion.
LOVE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT
One of several hot-button issues in our culture today is homosexuality. The agenda of the LGBT movement has been for many years, the normalization of their sexual depravity. They have been successful in this effort. In American secular culture, it is an unquestioned belief that a man sticking his penis into another man’s rectum is love.
Does that statement shock you? Do you want to stop reading now? Was your first thought after reading that truth, “I can’t believe he just said that”? If that is you then you are a victim of the secular propaganda machine and perhaps you’ve just now come to realize that. Your shock over the truth of what sex between two men consists of is proof you have become normalized to the euphemisms the homosexuals and their allies in the church use to cloak the depravity of their actions.
What do I mean by that? Simply this: if speaking the truth about what homosexuality is shocks you then you have accepted the lie that homosexuality is love and whatever is of love is alright between consenting adults.
The current state of affairs within much of the church reveals a capitulation to the strategies of the enemy of our souls. Homosexuality and same-sex union affirming Christians have been at the forefront of propagandizing Christian youth. Millennials have been specifically targeted and the results are gut-wrenching.
One strategy utilized by those inside of and associated with Revoice, the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, The Gospel Coalition, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Covenant Seminary, and now LOVEboldly, is the idea of friendship. The most common response I have heard from Christians who think homosexuality is just a “preference” is this: “Well, I have lots of friends who are gay and I love them so I support their position.”
The organizations and its members listed above are using this emotion, this postmodern, experience-based propaganda to drive a wedge between people and the truth of God’s Word. By doing so they are aiding and abetting the destruction of the foundations of evangelicalism. Their goal is clearly to usher in a form cultural Marxism. Perhaps they think that by being involved in leading many into apostasy they can step out of and avoid the war against Christianity. To those individuals, I commend the words of Mordecai to Esther: Do not think you can avoid destruction. Indeed, you better pray you do not avoid the same consequence you are enabling because if you do, you are part of the end times one world beast religious system and you have a much bigger problem.
Do you understand what has happened to these people? They have become disciples of postmodernism, in which feelings trump everything else. What people feel is now the barometer of truth. Christians have adopted the world’s way of thinking. “My friend has these feelings and I love my friend so I think his feelings are right.” Never mind that Christians are warned not to trust our feelings because they can lead you into wickedness (Jeremiah 17:9).
The Scripture says that friendship with the world makes us enemies of God (James 4:4). Some might object, saying that this is speaking of the world’s system, the philosophies of the world system. My response is that this way of thinking is adopted by people and their worldview governs the lenses through which they make decisions. Even then, Paul writes that we are to destroy every speculation and idea that raises itself up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). Additionally, Paul had this to say to those who think they can remain in their sin because God loves me as they are:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
PERSEVERE THROUGH FAITHFULNESS
I remember singing an old hymn long ago. I Have Decided to Follow Jesus was sung during invitations in the Baptist church I attended as a young man. The lyrics said in part: “Though none go with me still I will follow.” The implication is that following Jesus will cost you something. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says: “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.” Sometimes the price we pay to follow Jesus is giving up friendship with people who insist that Jesus loves them and accepts them even when they are living in blatant sin. Such is the case with those who insist their homosexuality is consistent with Christian faith. It is likely the case that your continued friendship with people who refuse to give up their sin is a sign that you have been compromised. Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian believers is appropriate to remember here: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).
Even though I understand that people who insist on engaging in homosexual behavior do not believe the Bible’s instructions, I give them nonetheless. Even though I have heard many professing Christians say that they support homosexual behavior because they have friends who are homosexual, I challenge them to reconsider that position. Recall these words of Jesus as you choose this day whom you will serve:
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37-39).
Christian, if you are one of those individuals who is loving your homosexual friend straight to hell by not telling them the truth, I call you to forsake that and return to serving Jesus with your whole heart. What’s love got to do with it? Short answer: everything. True love is from God, and He loves us with an untainted love that desires to see us walk in holiness before Him. When we adopt the world’s way of thinking concerning what constitutes love, we are ignoring what God says about the subject. His is the definitive answer concerning all things.
What we need today are pastors who will obey the LORD in all things and live, preach, and teach His instructions. Through the prophet Ezekiel God said He wants pastors who will teach His people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean” (Ezekiel 44:23). Is God’s desire for His people any less today?
 Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The New American Standard Bible, (La Habra, CA: Lockman Foundation, 1978).
 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
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