Good morning. I would like to take a moment and extend my thoughts and prayers to any and all who may read this that have been touched in some way by the recent wave of tornadoes to come through our area. I want you to know that I, as are others, are praying for those of you who suffered the loss of loved ones and the loss of property. I pray God's hand of peace and comfort will rest upon you and that you will feel our prayers and love.
I am going to show my age a bit and tell you that today's topic reminds me of a TV game show that my grandmother use to watch and love called “Truth or Consequences”. The object of the game was to listen to 5 or 6 people make statements as to who they were and for you to try to decide which one was the person. As I grow older, I see this more and more in so many people today. We have “Christians” trying to fit into the world, and we have people who dress up all pretty and nice and come to church and trying to pass themselves off as Christians. Do you know some like I have mentioned? I know God has something to say on this issue, so let's take a look.
Psalms 4:3 says, “But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The Lord will hear when I call to Him.” Jeremiah 1:5 says, “"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." Acts 20:32 says, “ So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says, “ 9 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 homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 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.” John 17:14-18 says, “
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”
You know preachers, pastors and others who stand on the word of God sometimes have to confront issues that the world would rather us not. 1 Corinthians 9:16 says, “woe is me, if I do not preach the gospel”. The issue above is one of those issues that others would rather be left alone. It is the issue of “posing”, it is the issue of giving into self and compromising your beliefs to allow yourself to “act” a certain way to fit in with those around you.
One instance of what I'm talking about is homosexuality. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone say,”I was born like this”. God does not make mistakes. His word tells us that He made them both male and female and that the one is not to lay with his or her own kind. Homosexuality is a choice, unless you are calling God a liar.
I could say that I was born to kill people and because I feel that I was born to do this, I should be allowed to kill anytime I want. This statement is as absurd as is the first one. Both are choices we make and are considered habitual sins that will not be forgiven and will have to be answered for on the day of judgment.
The next group I must mention is the group who come to church on Sunday and act “Christ like” while at church, and then leave the church and as soon as they walk out the doors, they are as worldly as anyone. You know the kind I'm talking about, those who come to work on Monday and tell those “little lies” or those “little dirty jokes”. They gossip about everyone, complain about everything and always have a negative attitude. Then come Friday night, you'll find them out at the “club”, “just having fun”. You know who I'm talking about. They are the same ones you saw in church Sunday and they are the ones smoking, drinking, cussing up a storm, flirting with someone's wife or husband because they think the grass is greener on the other side. God's word tell us that “My sheep hear My voice”, and “if you love Me, you will keep My commandments”. God's word also tells us that we can tell a tree by it's fruit, a good tree will not bare bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bare good fruit.
Let me ask you a question. If you knew of a judge who worked in the courts where you live, and he or she was the “hang them high” type judge when it came to P.I.'s or D.U.I.'s and gave everyone who came in front of him or her the maximum sentence, but was seen leaving local bars under the influence, would you want that type of judge, or would you have any respect for them? This is why God has to maintain the measuring stick so high, so there is no question about His integrity. It is this type of hypocrisy that is causing the great falling away churches today are experiencing.
So, do you know who you are? Have you been acting like all those around you so long that you have lost your identity? Have you tried to blend in with the world so long that you have forgotten all about God? Have you forfeited the gifts, favor and blessings of God to make someone else happy? Are you so caught up and deafened by the world that you can no longer hear that still small voice of God?
Remember: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. And all we have to do is come back to Him and He will make all things better and right.
Until next time, please continue to pray for each other, and me, as I continue to pray for each of you.
Love in CHRIST,
Bethel Baptist Church