Sunday, August 14, 2011

The real church needs to stand up and be counted.

2 Corinthians 6:15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
 16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.  

1 Peter 1:13Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
 15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
 16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

For years we've heard that we are to "come out from among them (the world) and be ye separate", and that we are to be "Holy" because HE is "Holy". Without getting into all the in's and out's of this (we will in another blog post), I need to respond to a current false teaching that is out there. 

According to these false teachers, we've all misunderstood and taken out of context, these verses above. Somehow they seem to believe that God has "let down his guard" on this. That, even though these same concepts are repeated in both testaments of scripture, it doesn't really mean that we have to live, act, think, dress, etc differently than the rest of the world. Yes, they acknowledge that God DID mean that in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, we are under "Grace" and need not worry about trying to "live right", for it was all taken care of on Calvary.

They even use 1 Corinthians 8 in an effort to try and say that those of us who DO hold to biblical standards are somehow the weak minded and weak faith ones. I have recently heard this teaching in a church with my own ears. I was shocked. Here was this pastor of a supposedly Apostolic church trying very hard to explain away the biblical requirements to live godly by twisting scriptures to try and make them say what they do not say. 

My friends, re-read the above scriptures and there can be no doubt as to what we are called to do- COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE (LIVE A LIFESTYLE) SEPARATE from the way the world lives. There are MANY more scriptures that you can point to that teach this same concept in the NEW Testament. 

1 Peter 2:9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
 10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Read the whole rest of the chapter. The verses before talk of what God has done for us and culminate with these verses. The rest of the chapter gets into how we should NOT live. 

Philippians2:12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
 14Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Here is the nitty gritty. YES, it is GOD (if we have been biblically born again  through Acts 2:38) that works IN us and gives us the will power and the strength to do what he wants us to do. We cannot live for God in the flesh, without his power to accomplish it, and think that our own works will be enough to get us through the pearly gates.

However, we are ordered in this scripture and in many ways in other scriptures, to work out (live out) our salvation with fear and trembling. Contrary to popular opinion, we ARE supposed to fear God and obey his commandments. We were grafted into God's vine and if we do not give it our all, then sin can creep in and we can become unfruitful and barren. At that point, we ARE in danger of losing out with God. So, with FEAR and trembling, we live out our relationship with God daily.

Grace is NOT "unmerited favor", that's Mercy. Grace is a salvational relationship WITH God, where we work WITH God to allow him to shape us and mold us into HIS image. This, by definition, requires us to live, act, think, dress, etc completely different from the world.

I'm not saying we should become Amish. However, over time, if we have been born again, our lifestyles and dress should begin to change and begin to differentiate us from the way the world does things. If we, after a time of walking with God, are not changing- pulling further away from the world and closer to God, then we need to enter into deep prayer and fasting and "check our Holy Ghost".

We ARE to live IN this world and NOT BE OF this world. We need to avoid and shun the ungodly and profane in our world. Not all styles of clothing are ungodly, but some are. Not all amusements in this world are ungodly, but some are. Not all occupations out there are ungodly, but some are.

God gives us guidelines in his word that we are to live by. Unfortunately, many are throwing these guidelines out the door in an effort to "win the lost". If we compromise biblical ways of life in an effort to win them to God, what are we winning them to? If our lifestyles are the same as theirs, they have no need to change anything when they come to Jesus. Further, what are they repenting of that's different from us if our lives are the same? They do things for what feels good and seems right to them. Can we do the same things that they do-only in the name of Jesus- and actually think to win them to him?

Separation and Holiness are STILL required in order to remain a Christian. Anyone who teaches differently, is a false prophet. That's the bottom line.