What is Walking in Darkness?

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.

~Psalm 1:1–2

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD.

~Jeremiah 17:7

Brethren, may you be blessed in the LORD and abound in the precious grace of God that teaches us to deny ungodliness and walk soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age.   I pray that you will have fellowship with God as you walk in the Light, knowing Him who has called you out of this world and into His imperishable kingdom.

We’re going to quickly review the previous video, “can Christians sin”, and then address the question “what is walking in darkness?”

 

The Cup of Demons: Exhortations

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” ~1st Corinthians 10:21-22

The cup of demons set at the table of demons refers to the wickedness crafted by demons and set out at the Harlots table: the cup of demons holds the wine of the wrath of the harlots fornication– it is the wine by which all the inhabitants of the world are made to stumble.

This table is set with ALL the abominable and wicked things we see around us: things full of death, all forms of sensuality, murder, greed, envy, bitterness, pride, and lust.

One of the greatest deceptions that I see abounding today, perhaps the greatest deception to befall you, is that being entertained by these things and taking pleasure in them somehow does not make us partakers of them. This lie itself is from the pit of hell and has caused many to stumble and fall into a spiritual drunken stupor that some never awake from.

In the same chapter Paul wrote the following: “And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, ‘the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’” (v7) Their idolatry was their insatiable appetite to fill themselves and be entertained. You could picture someone sitting down with a plate full of food and turning on the TV as a modern equivalent of this passage that fits perfectly with what he is talking about.

If Jesus said to lust after a woman is to commit adultery, and to have unrighteous anger is as murder (and surely He did say so), then what do you think Jesus would say of the things that enter our hearts through our eyes that we watch on TV?

Would Jesus say “to lust is to commit adultery, but to enjoy watching the utter darkness of the dead eating human flesh is HOLY”?!?! Do not become so deceived that you would get hooked on a “plot line” but forget what it is that you are actually watching and partaking of by that which is entering the Holy Temple of God (your body) through your eyes (the lamp of your body).

I find it almost unbelievable that Christians filled of the Holy Spirit cannot discern that this is DEMONIC: 

 

Therefore, tell me, who is the liar; the one who warns you of wrath to come upon these things, or the one who says Jesus would condone and accept abominations like “The Walking Dead”?

Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11

Brethren, Jesus said “blessed are the pure, for they shall see God”, therefore, do not defile your eyes with gross abominations to God– “put not wicked thing before your eyes” (Psalm 101:3).

Oh I pray that you would awake!

Can Christians Sin?

All too often we do not ask this question to God’s Word with a sincere heart; sometimes we simply don’t ask this question at all, while other’s we simply assume the answer based on personal experience, observations, and men’s sermons.

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR CHRISTIANS TO SIN?

 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” ~1st Corinthians 5:1-8

 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death. ~1 Jn 5:16–17

RESPONSE

When asking if it is possible for Christians to sin (a totally different question than “can Christians sin”), the answer is simply, “yes”. It’s extremely important to understand that a Christian is not made invulnerable to sin, nor do Christians become immune to temptations; not only do Christians endure trials and tribulations for their faith, they also must persevere through various temptations and overcome.

But, when asking this question if it is possible for a Christian to sin, the next step is where so many beloved brethren have stumbled, some even being deceived by various sensual doctrines of demons that would proceed to tell you that because it is possible for Christians to sin, therefore, it is expected and ordained that you will sin.

Because of personal experience, observation, and demonic doctrines, we are now taught that it is a certainty that you will sin.

If you look at the Church’s response to sin in the Body it is quite clear that the expectation was not that we would sin: for the brother that we see sinning not a sin unto death, we are to pray for him that he may receive life, and the brother that has leavened the body is to be purged (removed) from the body so that the Church may remained unleavened (without sin).

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR CHRISTIANS NOT TO SIN?

Very rarely do I ever hear a Christian genuinely ask whether or not it is possible for a Christian not to sin; usually I only hear this question from those who maliciously want to trap another brother or sister that is preaching God’s very call to holiness.

So we’re going to ask God if it is possible for His children not to sin:

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. ~Jude 20–25

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ~2 Peter 1:2–11

RESPONSE

The answer as to whether or not it is possible for a Christian, who once was a desperately defiled corpse, totally dead and depraved in iniquity, to be entirely redeemed and walk without sin, is absolutely YES. In fact, that is the gospel.

God has not changed: it is still impossible for God to sin, or for those who walk in the darkness to have fellowship with God (1st John 1:5). The good news is that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made manifest in the flesh, the Light of God shining out of the darkness into our hearts. He walked this world in the flesh, having humbled Himself though He is equal with God, and willingly gave Himself as a sacrifice for sins according to the good-will of God, and was raised to life by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit of God so that all who would call upon Him and repent should be saved from their sins, and set free. Indeed, when Christ raised from the dead He lead captivity captive!

Indeed, it is by the power and dominion of Christ that we are able to not sin because “we have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Light” (Col. 2:13) so that “sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14).

Jude exhorts the Church to build one another up in our most holy faith, praying in the Spirit, and keeping ourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life; we’re told to have compasion on some, making a distinction, while saving others from the fire with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Peter reveals that it is by the grace and peace that is multiplied to us in the knowledge of God and Jesus by His exceedingly great and precious promises that His divine power gives to us everything for life and godliness and we are made partakers of His divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. In fact, Peter exhorts us that if we are partakers of these things, we will never stumble.

God speaks most clearly on this subject here:

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. ~1 John 2:28–3:10

John wrote this epistle for the express purpose that “we may not sin” (1 Jn 2:1). Therefore, John exhorts the brethren to “abide in Christ” so that we may have confidence on the day of His coming (v28).

Just as Peter wrote according to the knowledge of God and Christ, so also does John write according to the knowledge of God and Christ (2:27, 29; 3:5). Indeed, he says that whoever sins is without the knowledge of Christ (3:6); it is by the knowledge of God and Christ that we become partakers of the divine nature and precious promises by which we will not stumble (2 Peter 1:2-11).

The Spirit of God reveals to us that Jesus came specifically to take away our sins and destroy the work of the devil (1 Jn 3:5, 8). The Spirit tells says that if you know that Jesus is righteous, you know that He who is of Christ also practices righteousness (2:29).

I want to stop here and challenge my brethren to ask whether or not you know that Jesus is righteous.

Most Christians would say, “yes, I know”, but I want to challenge you by saying that there is a difference between the empty words of our mouth and deep understanding by which you are filled with the knowledge of Christ Jesus.

Have you come to the righteous Jesus through the cross unto resurrection of the new man, or have you come to some other Jesus who has the righteousness of man, but not the righteousness of God?

Many Christians, myself included at one point in time, were led to faith in a false savior who was not the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ, who did not come to take away the sins of men, but, instead, the false savior that many of us were led to was preached to come to cover sins and allow them to remain.

The crescendo is here in verse 6: “whoever abides in Him does not sin”.

The Spirit reveals the same exact thing through Paul; “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Again, Paul wrote “I die daily… Awake to righteousness and do not sin, for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (1 Cor. 15:31, 34).

Some, not having the knowledge of God through which we become partakers of Him by faith, have strayed into sin and open shame!

Our victory in Christ, which is preached to us in these passages, is revealed to us in the follow scripture:

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world– ourfaith. Who is he who overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” ~1 John 5:4-5

We overcome this world, and the lusts therein, by faith; joining Paul in saying “I die daily”, we live unto Christ and abide in Him!

BE WARNED

John warns, “do not be deceived in this matter: anyone who practices righteousness is born of God, and whoever sins is of the devil” (v7).

Teachers of demonic doctrines in sheeps clothing will appeal to your flesh in order to deceive you, seeking to twist the word of God, play with words, and giving you an excuse to sin, but I beg you not to be deceived, my beloved brethren, but gird up your mind in soberness and test all things, knowing that no doctrine is from God unless it agress with godliness (1 Timothy 6:3).

Know this, that the word of God offends the flesh because it condemns sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3) and pronounces death to our old body of sin so that it might be done away with (Romans 6:6).

CAN CHRISTIANS SIN?

The questions “is it possible for Christians to sin” and “can Christians sin” are quite different, both in answer, and (often), in motive.

Let us turn again to the Word of God for help that the Spirit of wisdom and revelation may be upon us so that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened:

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. ~1 John 1:5–2:2

Firstly, we find three unrighteous responses to sin, and one righteous response:

  • The first unrighteous response to sin is to claim that you know God while walking in darkness; any such person is a liar and does not practice the truth.
  • The second unrighteous response here is to claim that you have not sinned; anyone who makes such a claim has called God a liar and His word does not abide in him.
  • The third unrighteous response is to claim that you are sinless (have no sin); anyone who says this has deceived themselves and does not have the truth in them.
  • The only rightoeus response to sin is to confess your sin and be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

In what way are the children of the Devil and the Children of God made maifest (distinct)? Whoever practices righteousness is of God, whoever practices unrighteousness is of Satan (1 Jn 3:10).

There is a righteous response to sin, and an unrighteous response to sin: the righteous response is to confess it before God and be cleansed from it- and we must understand being cleansed from sin in terms of 1st John 3:4, 5, & 6, that is, for our sins to be removed and we to move on from them.

Confession is given considerable time in John’s epistle, both in the beginning, and the end; we are to confess most certainly to God through Jesus Christ our advocate- which is what I believe the thrust of chapter 1 and 2 to be- but also one to another as we’re told in chapter 5. To confess our sin and be cleansed from it so that we no longer walk in sin by the power of Jesus’ blood and the faith that overcomes the world, which is in our righteous savior, is the only righteous response to sin.

However, there are three unrighteous responses to sin, all of which involve continuation in sin, either by denying our sin, deceiving ourselves, or lying about our sin by saying that we walk with God anyway, which is also deceiving ourselves.

What we are talking about here is the act of sinning (the Greek word ἁμαρτάνω[hamartanō] is the same word used in 2:1 as 3:6); the act of committing sin causes us to stumble in the way and brings us to a fork in the road by which we have a choice to make; either turn from our sin and contiue on the path of righteousness, or, at great peril to our souls, stray off the path of righteousness and walk in sin.

To choose one of the unrighteous responses to sin is to take the path of unrighteousness and walk in sin. At that point we are practicing sin and have deceived ourselves with the deceitfulness of sin.

If we choose one of the unrighteous responses to sin, either to claim that we still walk with God even though we have sin, or to deceive ourselves into thinking that we have not sinned/have no sin, then we have already chosen the path of unrighteousness and are walking in sin.

No one that knows God will do such a thing: if the truth abides in you, the only response that you have is to confess your sin and be cleansed by the blood of Christ.

On the one hand we have a Christian that has sinned before God, but, because of the truth that abides in them and the power of faith in Jesus Christ the righteous one, the Christian runs to Jesus Christ our righteous Advocate and is cleansed from all sin, while on the other hand we have those that do not know God, or that Jesus Christ is righteous, who deceive themselves and either claim to know God, though they sin, or call Him a liar by saying that they have no sin (one form of this that I have seen is by saying that sinful acts are no longer sinful in God’s eyes because of Jesus Christ- such a teaching calls God a liar who has specifically condemned sin even in the new testament).

IMPORTANT POINTS

Walking in sin is a condition of the heart in which even your response to sin becomes unrighteous. There are translations that render “sin” or “sins” as “practicing sin” or “goes on sinning” in 1st John 3 because of the continual tense that John is talking about; I have no problems with this because I believe it is readily evident in context.

But it is absolutely critical that we see what John defines as “walking in sin” or “continuing in sin”: our response either puts us on the path of righteousness or unrighteousness, and, we must remember, those that know that Jesus is righteous will not walk in sin.

CONCLUSION

The expectation of the Christian is not to sin; so great is the victory of Christ, so powerful is His mighty working towards us, and so wonderful is the perfect faith that He authored, that the expectation of the Christian is to overcome sin by putting off the old man and putting on the new man.

When we ask “can Christians sin” the answer is most certainly, NO, just as Paul wrote, “shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:1-2)

If you know that Jesus is righteous, you know that those who are born of His Seed do not sin, but, through Jesus Christ our Advocate, we overcome by the victory of faith.

Let Your Light So Shine: The Testimony of Holiness of Life and the Fruit of Lips

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16

 

I was talking with a friend about evangelism yesterday and our responsibility to be witnesses of Christ to this world and glorify our Father in heaven.  It was a good conversation that wrestled with questions regarding truth, effectiveness, and the coming Day of the Lord.   Unfortunately we had to cut it short, but I hope we can continue this conversation later.

From what I can observe, most of the time this topic is framed in “the testimony of works VS the testimony of words”, and to that I would say that the Word of God has already answered this question for us by saying, “let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).  But I think we need to frame this topic differently: it should be “the witness of the holiness of life and the fruit of lips” instead of “the testimony of works VS the testimony of words”.

People everywhere are readily accepting of human decency: being polite, friendly, and cheerful is welcomed by most people everywhere, but it also does not testify of Jesus Christ.   A Buddhist, for example, is polite, friendly, and cheerful, but he does not glorify God.  This approach is a vague and diluted alternative to living in such a way that God will be glorified.   However, people are not as welcoming of the witness that holiness of life bears testifies too; as they hated our Lord, so also will they hate you if you bear witness of Him.  

I also think we need to understand this in terms of the word “witness”, rather than “testimony”; it’s necessary that we understand that we should be witnesses of Christ to the world.  We are the Children of God who have witnessed the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in our own bodies as we are made new creations in Him (Romans 6:3-14)!

I can bear witness of Christ because I know Him, and He knows me!

And if I have become a new creation in Christ, set apart as holy unto the LORD, by natural conclusion my life is going to bear testimony to Christ in me.

This is what Jesus is talking about when He wrote that we should let our light shine before men in such a way that we glorify God: it is the same Light that shone in Christ that must also shine in us before men.  It’s the same Light that shone in Christ and glorified God in an acceptable manner that must now shine in us and glorify God in an acceptable manner.  We do not have a new light shinning in us, but the same Light that shone in Christ first that now has shone brightly in our hearts, as the Word says, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

Remember what Jesus has said,

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” ~John 3:19-21

Furthermore,

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘a servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.  If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for my names sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” ~John 15:18-21

We must clear up the delusion that the Light we shine to glorify God will be welcomed by the world in which we shine the Light.  That is not so.

Holiness of life, that is, that your life has been set apart for God’s use, is as offensive to the world as daily preaching is because of the Light.  It bears witness to the life of Christ and the condemnation that is in the world because they hated the Light.

 

But, like I said above, there is a second witness: the fruit of lips (Hebrews 13:15).

I hesitate to use the phrase “a second witness” because I don’t want you to think that these things can be at all separated: they are more like a single candle, one being the wick, and the other being the wax.

You need the witness of the holiness of life or your words make you a hypocrite: the holiness of life is the evidence of Christ in You that unceasingly witnesses of Him to the world around you.  But the fruit of lips is what projects the testimony to the world for the glory of God.  As the candle needs the wax to sustain the constant burning of the wick, so the Light needs the witness of holiness of life to sustain the testimony of the fruit of lips.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. ~Hebrews 13:15

I think this term ,”fruit of lips”, is appropriate because of this passage that teaches us about the sacrifice of praise to God that gives thanks to His name.  It is a continual offering by Christ for the glory of God, just as the holiness of our life works the glory of God.

I don’t want us to think that we are not offering the fruit of lips as praise to God when we are preaching: we worship God in “Spirit and Truth”, and we are made ministers of the “Truth” by which we preach.

We shouldn’t see a distinction between worship and preaching, but should consider the later a form of the former.

Let me bring this exhortation to you, my beloved brethren: neither hide your light under a basket by silencing the testimony of the fruit of lips, nor destroy your testimony by losing the holiness of life that bears witness of Christ.  But rather, let your light so shine before men that God may be glorified.  Amen.

The Exhortation of the Gospel to our Faith

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you WHO PRACTICE INIQUITY (sin & lawlessness)’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

 Your profession, “Lord, Lord”, will not save you, neither will your tithing, my preaching, or the signs and wonders of those who perform them, but on the Day of Judgment, Jesus will turn to those who practice iniquity and say, “depart from me, for I never knew you”.

Brethren, you’ve been called to holiness (1st Thess. 4:1-8), without which no one will see the LORD (Hebrews 12:14). “Therefore”, the Word says, “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your ahnds, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you doubleble minded. Lamen, mourn, and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:7-10). “Let he who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19). Jesus said if something causes you to sin, “cut it off” (Matthew 5:29). Turn from your sins by the grace that teaches us to live righteously, godly, and soberly (Titus 2:11ff) and seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Luke 10:27).

Become “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption though His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossianns 1:12-14).

Amazing is the Son of His love, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. By Him all things were created that are in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:15-16)!!

Come, “count all things as rubbish for the glory of knowing Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8-10)! Hallaleujah, Christ the Lord is King!

Truly Christ has spoken openly to us, telling us “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world– the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life– is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of if; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

I love you all, brethren, and exhort you that you may be found “holy and blameless in the day of His coming” (Ephesians 5:27); do not be ashamed of the testimony of Christ found in you, though the world will call this evil, and neither let yourself call what God has called evil good (consider what sins many love in their entertainment). Amen.

Spiritual Encouragement v.s. Worldly Encouragement

I sometimes use words that are unfamiliar or hazy for certain circles of brethren; words that I believe are very important to the function of the Body of Christ (the Church) and the holy life of God’s Children.

For example, I often bring “exhortations” and “admonishments” to the brethren. An “exhortation” is earnest, often urgent, spiritual instruction, whereas an “admonishment” is counsel, caution, and mild reproof made with goodwill (this is in contrast to a “rebuke”, which is a stern reproof and forthright correction).

But there are also sometimes words that are commonly used in our world but incorrectly understood in their spiritual use; one such word is “encouragement”.

“Encouragement” today is often perceived as praising an individual; when we think of encouraging someone we often think of “patting them on the back” and telling them how awesome they are. I would consider this “worldly encouragement” because it appeals to a person’s sense-of-self, pride, and ego for its effectiveness. However, in contrast, there is also “spiritual encouragement”, which inspires our Christian brethren to courage and strengthen of spirit, and appeals to our love for Jesus, righteousness, and faith in God. This is what I would like to taks some time to look at closer.

The scripture says,

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.~Hebrews 3:13

Therefore encourage each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:11

The scripture exhorts us by appealing to salvation in Christ, saying that “while it is still called ‘Today’” (a reference to the Day of Salvation; cf. 2nd Corinthians 6:2) we should encourage one another daily, so that none of us will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Spiritual counsel is offered in this exhortation: we are being instructed in righteousness so that we will not be destroyed by a very real threat (the deceitfulness of sin).

Therefore, our exhortation, or, earnest instruction, is to encourage and edify one another daily.

But in what way and how should we encourage one another?

Spiritual Encouragement: Unto Christ

What is most often exercised today in worldly encouragement does more to puff up the ego, enlarge our pride, and create a self-centric view of life than it does to promote godliness and build up people’s hearts with gospel courage and boldness. It is temporary, and, just like a drug addiction, requires stronger and stronger doses for the same effect the more your are exposed to it.

Spiritual encouragement is of an altogether different composition; consider the following passage,

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” ~Philippians 2:1-8

This loving exhortation speaks volumes of the kind of encouragement we are to show daily to one another: it begins with Christ, “if there is any encouragement in Christ”, who was in the very form of God but made Himself a lowly and obedient servant of no reputation, in so much that we who are born of His Seed as new creations should also, all together, receive with likemindedness this same mind.

Stop.

The exhortation being given here consists first and foremost of Christ: that is to say, the encouragement we receive in Christ is in Him and is for the inspiration and courage of Christ-likeness, so that, “as He is, so ought we to be on this earth” (1st John 4:17).

Spiritual encouragement will always further the brethren towards Christ-likeness.

Furthermore, spiritual encouragement is with the comfort of love (cf. John 14:15), the fellowship of the Spirit (cf. 1st John 1:5-7), in affection and mercy (cf. Matthew 25:34-40, Colossians 3:12-13). It is not done in either “selfish ambition” or “conceit”, which is quite the opposite of worldly encouragement, which appeals to an individuals conceit through excessive flattery and praise, and is quite often motivated by “selfishness” as we seek to encourage someone to any particular behavior that we personally desire or want to see. Instead, spiritual encouragement is for the benefit of the one receiving the encouragement and considers his or her personal (we could use the word “intimate” in its purest sense) needs.

Spiritual Encouragement: Testimony

But spiritual encouragement is also through testimony, as Paul wrote,

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. ~Philippians 3:17

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. ~1st Timothy 4:12-13

Testimony is as much the witness of our example as it is also the witness of our words.

By conduct Paul became an example of Christ for the encouragement and edification (building up) of the Church as a whole. He exhorted the Church to look to such examples and join in as examples of Christ to be followed by other brethren. Paul gave earnest instruction to the beloved Timothy by telling him to become an example to the brethren in “word”, in “conduct”, and in “love”.

Consider the following spiritual encouragement that Paul gave the entire Thessalonian Church:

And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia, but we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more! ~1st Thessalonians 1:6-8, 4:9-10

Seeing the greatness of their example and encouragement in the body of Christ, Paul did not stroke their ego, feed their pride, or appeal to self-conceit, but, rather, named the good and encouraged them to “abound more and more”.

CLOSING EXHORTATIONS & ADMONISHMENTS

God’s word is replete with examples of how we can encourage one another in Christ so that we will all excel and “abound more and more”; we may speak to one another in psalm, hymn, and spiritual song (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16), or use the gifts of the Holy Spirit that have been given to us for the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:3-4, 4:7-16), but in all things, whether by preaching and teaching, or by conduct and love, let all things be done for the edification of the Body that we may grow up to the measure and stature of Christ Jesus our Lord.

If your hand is slack, as many hands have been, nourish yourself in the word of God and prayer, and be strong so that you can tend to your house and strengthen your brethren.

May the grace, peace, and mercy of God abound in you all, that your faith may be steadfast and your love for Christ immovable. Amen.

Without Holiness No One Will See the Lord

Things have been pretty crazy lately with my illness, the news that we are now expecting a baby, and my job that is turning into twice the hours I was originally looking for; in regards to things on my heart to write about I’ve had the epidemic problem of pornography/lust on my mind (I still want to continue with that), but right now I want to return to our study of Hebrews 12 because of how significant this chapter is for us .   We’ve already looked at vv1-3 and vv4-11, and now we’re ready to look at vv12-17:

“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather, be healed.  Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.  For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.~Hebrews 12:12-17

STRENGTHENING THE BODY

Everywhere I turn I find Christians who have stopped laboring, even forsaking the assembly, and who are pained by discouragement, despair, and bruised by various enmities, sins, and troubles.  

We need to be looking out for one another with tender care, knowing the enemy prowls about looking for those that he can devour.

How can we strengthen the body?  Do we need more programs and organized committees, or more super-bowl parties and trunk-or-treat events?  No!  Those things come from men, not God, but we have been given better gifts by which we can edify and build up the body of Christ:

Let all things be done for the edification of the Body” ~1st Corinthians 14:26

 

You have my prayers that you will be able to understand with wisdom how to edify the body of Christ: let me encourage you to read God’s word and consider what we’re taught in 1st Corinthians 12-14, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4.

The Word says that “when He [Jesus the Lord] ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men” (Ephesians 4:8); if you have been born of the Seed of Christ and become a new creation in Him, not only has your captivity been taken captive (freedom from sin), but also you have been given the gifts of the Holy Spirit.   Every member of the body has been given gifts.

You’ll notice these passages show two enemies of spiritual gifts: the first is disorder, which Paul addressed in 1st Corinthians 14 and revealed proper order as a commandment of the Lord, and the second is selfish ambition, that “each person” comes “with their own prophecy or tongue”.  They used their gifts for themselves, and not the edification of the Body.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit have been set in order and are useful in edifying the body of Christ, therefore, let us acknowledge God in all our paths, that He may direct our ways in sound order that we might use our gifts for the edification of the body, in true humility and meekness.

When we’re told to “make straight paths for our feet” we must consider that there is a way in which we can walk that is displeasing to God, it departs from holiness and is out of order, and there is a way that is pleasing to Him, full of holiness and in order; take the straight and narrow path that leads to the Kingdom of God!

Another problem found in the scriptures that we still see today is that of jealousy: the public gifts, like preaching and prophesying, were unrighteously desires (we are supposed to desire them) for one reason or another, and those who did not have them began to think of themselves as less a part of the body.

Therefore, Paul wrote, “are all apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles and healings, or able to speak with tongues?” (1 Cor. 12:29-30)

While we are exhorted to earnestly desire the greater gifts, let our desires be pure and holy, also not forgetting to stir up the gifts that are already in us and use them for the edification of the Body of Christ.

It is fitting that the scripture has given us this exhortation to strengthen the body.  Therefore, do you see “hands that hang down” and “feeble knees”?  Seek to use your gift for the edification of those who need it!  Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.  

Let us not forget this ministry.

FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Luke 9:62, 1st Corinthians 16:13-14 (cf chapter 13 and 14),  Ephesians 6:10-11

PEACE AND HOLINESS

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

We have two commandments that are one commandment: first, pursue peace with all people, and secondly, pursue holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” ~ James 3:18

It is impossible to pursue holiness without peace, just as it is impossible to bring peace without holiness because the peace that we seek is the peace of Christ (Romans 5:1), not that of the world (John 14:27).

There are times my spirit weeps within me because very few are hearing what God has said: “without holiness, no one will see the LORD”.  I greatly fear and even see that many have erected a kind of holiness in their own image, a holiness that is superficially imparted upon those who continue to sin as a covering, but have utterly rejected the holiness of God that is part of our very fiber through the new creation that He has made in us.

Paul wrote:

Finally, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.  For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of you or defraud you in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.  For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.  Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.”  ~1st Thessalonians 4:1-8

 

Paul carefully warned us that there are those who would take advantage of and deceive you in this matter: who cause men to reject God (not man, but God).

The holiness spoken of here is the manifest holiness of Christ, that is to say, it is real holiness, not manufactured, not imagined, but real and living holiness.

We have the testimony and promise of God that no one will see Him without holiness.

FALLING SHORT

Here is the closing warning, that we must be on guard lest anyone “fall short of the grace of God”.

This is very much a message of the Word of God given to us in various warnings throughout both the Old and New Testaments, yet “many have taken advantage of and deceived” many in the Church today with various doctrines that say it is impossible for someone to come short of the grace of God.

But it is possible!

Consider the grace of God for a moment:

 

The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.~Titus 2:11-13

To fall short of the grace of God simply means to fail to receive what the grace of God brings.  The lessons of grace are straightforward and accomplished by faith in those who walk by the power of the Holy Spirit, who have set their minds on the things above, not on the things below (thus, their hearts and hopes are on the things above, not on worldly lusts), and who have loved Christ to whom, and for whom, they were called.

CLOSING EXHORTATION

Brethren, if there could be anything I desire for you it would be that you would receive the true grace of God that teaches you to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live in holiness.

Therefore, my exhortation is that you grab a Bible and go some place quiet without your distractions and seek the face of God until He is revealed to you, in you, and finally through you.

New Prayer Focus

The Lord has put something on my heart to pray for, and I want to ask my brethren to join with me in this prayer focus.

It is on my heart to pray for our brothers and sisters that have the conviction of the Holy Spirit to “come out” from the harlot and the perversions of wickedness around us and in our churches.

I’m seeing many brothers and sisters get caught in snares as they seek to come out, or “enter into the wilderness” and growing parched, discouraged, and famished because they did not enter the “promised rest”.

 

OVERCOMING PORNOGRAPHY: Part 2

After publishing the first post on this, I had the opportunity to look at what other people on WordPress are writing about two of the tags I used, “Pornography” and “Overcoming Pornography”; there were two posts on “overcoming Pornography” (mine and another). There were literally countless posts for “Pornography”; some were entitled “Porn is for everybody, not just men, not just perverts, but for everybody”, while others were more centered on sanitizing porn, trying to manage it and make it clean by “avoiding” some of the inherent “dangers” of pornography. There were a few news reports on pornography, one of a teenage boy who raped his sister after watching porn. But there was no one calling on people to stop watching porn altogether because no one in our day seems to believe that it is possible!

That is going to be the topic of this post: victory.

There is so much talk normalizing porn today, both in society and the Church, but we need to be able to given an answer for the hope we have in Christ and know by both faith and experience the power of the gospel for salvation of men.

WEIGHING ON MY HEART

Porn is weighing heavily on my heart and mind right now because of how many young and old souls it is consuming today; from young boys and girls to experienced pastors, it’s deathly grip has a stranglehold on so many souls. Make no mistake about it, Porn is like the midnight harlot whose path is the way to Hell; and her path has been greatly enlarged in our time to accommodate the souls she is consuming. Porn is presented in many forms and venues so that it has become impossible to hide from it altogether.

Yet the Church seems to have forgotten that we have the unique blessing of victory in Christ! The very reason why I struggled with pornography so long after having been born again was precisely because I did not know or understand the victory of Christ: my faith was incomplete. But victory in Christ is real, and we are upheld in Him who keeps us from stumbling by His own power (Jude 24; 1st Cor. 10:13; 2nd Peter 1:10-11).

THE WILL OF GOD

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” ~1st Thessalonians 5:23-24

I have to say again, Pornography is an issue that utterly consumes the mind: it reshapes how you think, how you look at people, what you want, how you feel, and even how your brain releases chemicals into your blood. It makes your mind an unfit dwelling place for God.

I remember a game I played with my college roommates (in seminary): we would drive down the road and I would read every sign and make it sound perverted. I always won. If you think of the way “Austin Powers” sees life, you could understand how I saw life; this mind came from over 15 years of in depth pornography addiction.

But God has a different will for you than that of the world, His will for you is sanctification; His will for you is that you be washed clean, purified, and made holy, as the Word says,

Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.” ~1st Thessalonians 4:1-8

Overcoming pornography requires that we begin here with the will of God.

The Church has failed by-and-large in contemporary American teaching to teach holiness; either it is taught by works of the Law, or it is despised, but rarely is it embraced. And if you do not know the will of God, you will neither please Him, nor have the faith to abide in the will of God, but you are guaranteed to go astray as a lamb to the slaughter.

People’s desire to overcome pornography comes from many different sources: some people want to overcome their addiction to pornography because they have been caught by their spouse and their marriage is now in shambles, others because they are so consumed by it that porn is interfering with their ability to work or study in college. Unfortunately, these are the reasons of the world and they are selfish. Many times the same men and women who may have some of these motives for overcoming pornography have simultaneously rejected God by their disdain and rejection of His called to Holiness.

You will not overcome pornography by the power of Christ unless you first hear with faith God’s call to holiness and abide in His will for your sanctification.

Yes, there are many rehabilitation programs out there that can help sanitize and manage your addiction to pornography apart from victory in Christ, and Satan is perfectly happy to allow you to sanitize your sin so long as you have rejected God’s call to holiness because you are already his if you have done this.

And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” ~1 Corinthians 6:11, 18–20

This is entirely a matter of sanctification and holiness. Consider this while we move on.

RENEWING THE MIND

Pornography is deeply rooted in our mind, as we’ve talked about before, it corrupts your mind and bends it towards sexual immorality and perversion. A mind that is polluted by sin is hostile towards God and set entirely on the flesh, which mind is death and at enmity with God (Romans 8:6-7).

2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” ~Romans 12:2

16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” ~1st Corinthians 2:16

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” ~Philippians 2:5ff

What hope! What spark of life for those who are so dead in their transgressions! What good news!

You are not sentenced to abide in the current state of mind that you now have in your sin. The gospel brings good tidings from God of hope for purer things than what you are now.

To the one who is opposed in their heart to holiness, this passage brings the burden of the law upon their shoulders and they are wearied quickly by it; they turn away disheartened by the command to not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. But to the one whose hope is the One and only begotten Son of God, this passage brings the joy of salvation and the liberty of Christ!

How, then, is our mind renewed by Christ?

How can a young man cleanse his way?By taking heed according to Your word. Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD, teach me Your statutes. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” ~Psalm 119:9, 11-12, 14-16

Just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” ~Ephesians 5:25–27

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” ~Psalm 119:1-2

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” ~Colossians 3:16

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” ~Hebrews 4:12-13

The Lord spoke to His disciples and said to them, “you are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3), and told them to “abide in Me and you will bear much fruit” (v5).

The Word of God spoken into the heart of faith, who earnestly hungers and thirsts for righteousness, is able to discern our thoughts and understand the intents of our heart; He is living and powerful, able to pierce even to the point of dividing the soul and the spirit; the Word of God is able to circumcise your heart with a circumcision not made with human hands.

The Psalmist asked the very question we are asking today, and, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, answered our question: he asked how can a young man cleanse his ways? After-all, young men often have many things they need cleansed from their ways! The answer is by observing (obeying) the Word of God!

Look at what the Psalmist means by this: he tells us that he sought God with all of His heart (v10), that he hid God’s word deep within His heart (v11). He blessed the LORD and asked Him to teach him His ways (v12). His lips declared the judgments of God (v13) and he rejoiced in all the ways of God as one would rejoice over vast treasures (v14). With great meditation and contemplation David looked into the ways of God (v15). His statutes became His delight so that He would not forget God’s word (v16).

Most men who are looking to overcome their addictions to pornography are looking for a quick fix, perhaps some software or technique that they can use to make this problem go away. They aren’t interested in what we have described above. Holiness is an abomination to them.

But, I am speaking to my brethren whose one desire is God: who love holiness and hunger and thirst for righteousness. I’m speaking to you who long to please God and desperately want to know God in Spirit and in Truth!

Study, day and night, the Word of God. Meditate upon His word in your heart, and contemplate His word in your mind. Let His word be the delight of your soul.

Then, the Word of God will be like living waters which flow over your mind and wash away you clean from the corruption of sin. The Sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit will renew your mind and the Truth will set you free indeed!

The heart whose joy and delight are the statutes of God cannot be bound by sin and perversion.

CONCLUSION

Victory over sin is impossible apart from the washing and regeneration of the Holy Spirit; unless you be born of the Spirit, you will remain in your flesh and partake of death in your body of sin as corruption reigns in your mortal body. Unless you be set free by the Truth that now abides in us, your debt is still to sin.

If you are seeking to overcome the terror of this sin you must start with the Word of God, who has called you in sanctification to holiness.

Therefore, start with the Word. Study these things and persevere in them! While others may promise quick results if you will trust in the methods of men, none may promise everlasting life but the One from whom all life came!

Turn to His word and cleanse your ways!

Spiritual Thoughts

This post is going to be less of a “lesson” and more of just sharing some thoughts.

I don’t believe we’re ever called to have great zeal and passion for the Church; it’s true that we’re appointed to various ministries, with which we serve the brethren (and thus, the Church).  And it’s true that we are called to perfectly love our brethren.  But, I cannot recall a single passage throughout the whole scripture in which we’re called to have great zeal and passion for the Church, nor for revival.

This has come to my mind as I’ve been studying about “Blessing the LORD”; I am overwhelmed that every passage I can recall tells of holy men and women coming before the LORD saying, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest!”

Christians today are misplaced, I think, in their passions for revival and the Church; and it sometimes turns into building a church or revival for ourselves.

Rather than this, I want to exhort my brethren to be filled with a zeal for God according to the knowledge of God, learning what pleases God and understanding the desires of God’s heart, grow in the desires of the Holy Spirit!

~~~

A second thought that I’ve been considering is regarding spiritual idleness: I wrote about idleness previously, and have preached on it here, but am grieved by how deeply sown idleness is in our faith.  It is like a poison that, once introduced into our blood, scarcely finds an antidote.

I see the effects all over the world wherever we have preached the gospel: we will preach, teach, exhort, and admonish, and these things will seemingly enter a persons heart with genuine care and faith, but by the next time we talk to them, they have forgotten them in favor of the many distractions of this world!

Even now, I find brethren weighed down with discouragement, barely able to get out of bed, but, when they do rouse themselves out of bed, they sit in front of YouTube or watch TV; they apply themselves to the things of this world, not in seeking God.  And if they do broach any spiritual premise, it is to watch a sermon on YouTube, but they never seek spiritual fellowship with their brothers, nor enter the quiet place before the LORD God Almighty.

Spiritual idleness, as far as I can observe, is one of the single greatest catastrophes to befall the Church in our day and age.  Truly, because of spiritual idleness, many people do not know God and have fallen asleep, being unprepared for the Bridegroom’s return.  As far as I can tell, this may be the slumber that has befallen the virgins.

~~~

If I can exhort my brethren with anything before I run off to work right now, I would like to exhort you not to become distracted by the cares of this world, but put off the old man and be clothed with Christ; be washed with the water of the Word, and be filled entirely with His living Word!  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  Learn what it means to Bless the LORD.  And do everything you can to stay far away from the poison of spiritual idleness.  We think we are not idle when we are working on our hobbies, but we deceive ourselves.  Do not become spiritually idle.  Even if you cannot work your job according to the spiritually profitable ways that God has ordained work to be for us, then depart from that line of work and find another.

May you all be full of grace, peace, and mercy, Amen!

A ministry of faith