Stay Focused And Real To The Faith You Have Been Given
Charles Spurgeon said it well many years ago, when the world did not influence people nearly to the degree that it does today.
I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.Charles Spurgeon
More Influenced Now
The world always had an influence over people, including believers in the church, but over time, even in my lifetime, I see people so much more easily influenced and persuaded to keep the views and lifestyles that they had before they became believers (if they are believers). It seems as though when a person trusts Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, that they have the hope and knowledge of salvation, but nothing else changes.
An Exception: Someone Untaught
This is not true of everyone, though. For a new believer, they don’t know enough, they have not been taught or discipled enough to know the truth that hopefully they will grow to know over time.
Key Issues Now In Our Culture
But there are people who really don’t care what the Bible says and that His Word is truth and matters. The world and society is their guide that drives what they believe. Their feelings and their own wants drive them to accept what they want to believe. We live in a culture with some very key issues right in front of us. Roe v. Wade was just overturned and many people, not just women, are furious about the outcome of this decision because they believe they have a right to live in sin without consequence. Then we hear about racism, gender identity, homosexuality and all that fits in the LGBTQ+ lifestyle.
Kids are taught or about to be taught many topics that they should not be exposed to at such a young stage in their life. So many issues in our life to deal with and we don’t all know how to handle all of it. We look at how people tell us through their example, to deal with these issues or we listen to the news. Some of us get very angry.
The Term “Hold Fast” Used In The Bible
Hold Fast is first used in Deuteronomy 10:20
“Fear the Lord your God and serve Him. Hold fast to Him and take your oaths in His name.”Deuteronomy 10:20
Hold fast means to “cling to or take a firm grasp of.” Another place where the term “hold fast” is found is when God commanded Moses as part of a conditional promise between Moses and the children of Israel. Joshua was told this as well.
In the New Testament we also find the term “Hold Fast”.
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”1 Corinthians 15:1-2.
If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him and to hold fast to Him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you.”Deuteronomy 11:22-23
Truth – What Really Is Truth?
Some of us have watched “What is A Woman?” This is such an interesting documentary hosted by Matt Walsh. In it, Matt takes a look at what society has come to believe regarding what a woman is. Why do we now have a supreme court justice who can’t define a woman when not that long ago, it was well understood? Why are we being told that men must be called women if they want to and we have to learn individual, specific pronouns because there is no longer any truth in what we are?
For so many people today, truth is what we believe is acceptable and what we want truth to be for us. Is this truth though? I know that I have written about this before. It is something that I am very passionate about. I have so many concerns especially as it pertains to the church. Is truth only relevant to us or to everyone if it is really truth?
I am glad when I see people come to church, learn about Christ, receive Him as their Lord and Savior, be baptized, and grow. It is wonderful to worship together! However, what do we base our standard of truth on? Many say that it is the Bible! Many don’t know. To many though, the Bible is truth until… it becomes something that touches us personally and often in a hard way. Maybe it is someone in our family that changed in a way that we don’t understand and/or agree with. It can be a tough situation that happens with one of our kids or even ourselves. We begin questioning what we believe… what we’ve learned from the Bible. If the Bible really means what it says. Perhaps we don’t even see a certain word or phrase or topic listed in a verse or context of Scripture. But, do we really look at what Scripture says and doesn’t say? Is Scripture the source of truth? Or is society? Has societal opinion supplanted scripture as the authority in our lives?
A Great Local Example
I heard Jackie Hill Perry (a St. Louis native and a great Biblical author and speaker) give her testimony regarding her former homosexual lifestyle. She remembered what she was taught as a child when her aunt took her to church. What the problem was in her life she says, is “not the lifestyle” but the sin. According to her, “[The lifestyle] is only a branch on the tree.” There is a branch of pride and anger and other sins, but what we need is to leave the tree of sin in general.”
Check out her video where she explains what scripture has to say on this very topic.
He Calls Us To Leave Sin And Embrace Holiness
“God needed to change the root of the sin,” she states. “And God is not calling us to heterosexuality, (or whatever sin that you struggle in). He is calling us to holiness.” Wow! This is true!
Many believe that they can’t change their behavior or their lifestyle. Too many people want a specific sin to change, a particular lifestyle to convert and change from, but what God really wants is to leave sin itself and come to God. God gives us the power to change as we listen to Him and repent, change and become more like Him. But it starts with us repenting, coming to terms with His Sovereignty and Holiness. It’s not about us and what we want, it’s about Him. It’s not about Him turning a blind eye to our sin, it’s about us becoming what He created us to be.
Some will be offended by this, I know already. But hear me out, what do we base truth on? Are you really looking at what God’s word declares as truth?
Abortion, For Example
This can apply in so many situations. We may not see the word “abortion” in the Bible, but what does the Bible say? Psalm 139 says that “while you were in your mother’s womb, God saw you.” and “Do not murder.” and teach your children when you get up and when you lie down and wherever you go. Write these words on the tables on their hearts. Exodus even calls for the life of a man who hits a woman and causes her to lose or hurts the child in her womb. So, does this indicate to you that God, in His word approves of any woman killing her child before it is born? No, it doesn’t! Look for truth. Look for what it says in the Bible and what it doesn’t say. If God saw us (as human individuals) in our mother’s womb, we are “not a clump of cells.”
Circumstances Do Not Determine Truth
I had a discussion with a woman recently who said that she was a believer in Christ, yet when we discussed abortion, she would not stand on Biblical principles. It was “my body, my choice.” then, rationalizing with obscure scenarios “what if xyz happened, would you want a baby to be born into a terrible circumstances?” The rationalization is never based on the truth of the Word of God. I see what people write and share on social media, and it just does not add up to the truth of God’s word! They don’t represent one who listens to the Lord. “Their perceived truth” is always rationalized and circumstantial. They don’t want a set of circumstances to go wrong, so they assign a set of circumstances to it and believe that a sin such a killing a child is acceptable due to such circumstances. They are not holding fast to the truth of His word! Paul in fact says this:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
I Say Because I Care
Something that hurts greatly, is not just a disagreement with a person on a moral issue, but when a person has pointed out verses in Scripture and they say that they are believers, but they hold fast to what the philosophies that the world teaches. They don’t accept what God says. I don’t share what I do, to look better, but because I have an honest desire for them to see and know what God says in His Word and hopefully grow stronger. Their life situation may not change and they will still love those who are close that they don’t agree with, but they can still know the heart of God on these sensitive topics that so many don’t believe apply.
Morality Does Not Equal Politics
An interesting thing has developed over time too. What have been moral issues more recently or for many years, that many of us know the truth about, are now considered “political” by many. Society has said that we can’t address politics and that politics need to be locked away in a box and not ever addressed if it challenges anyone. Lately, whenever something is sensitive and especially when it’s actually an issue of sin, it’s pushed into that “political box” and we can’t address it.
Moral issues do not equal politics. What God says is what He means and it does not and should not be allowed to be dismissed as “political.” Because moral issues have been classified as “political”, peoples hearts are I believe, overly sensitive. They don’t want to hear about this in church today. Is this what God wants though? Does His Word stand true and strong? Absolutely! So, should we be upset when we hear about “politics” at church? Morality and politics do not belong in the same box.
So today, many aren’t hearing that abortion is wrong, they aren’t told that they need to be husband and wife, one male and one female. Race issues that should not even be an issue from one person to another, especially a believer to another believer, some don’t even want addressed. If no one will address it, who will hear and change and who will mature in Christ?
From what I understand as well, Pastors and others who are in ministry often don’t address these topics. Many are influenced by fear of losing their tax exempt status. I believe though, that “God will make all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). Certainly there are legitimate concerns. I really believe though that God will take care of them if they stand on His Word. Even if they are persecuted, God has a plan for that too. He is faithful and will reward them for being faithful. By the way, some churches these days are choosing not to claim a tax exempt status or to give it up so that they can speak the truth of God’s Word without state influence.
People Need To Hear Truth
How will we have the hope of change around us? Too many people are way too afraid to step on people’s toes. People don’t want to be uncomfortable. It upsets them. This is not to say that we shouldn’t have some discretion and sensitivity to others. It is important to be wise, but don’t just not ever deal with it! People need to know truth and they need God and His Word! His Word will not return void and He says what He does for our own good, that we don’t bear terrible, hard consequences. I don’t believe that many understand this. They take the Bible as a religious book of do’s and dont’s. But it is Quick and Powerful and Sharper than any two edged sword. He knows all of our thoughts and attitudes and whether we read His Word. It is Him talking to us.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
Step On Toes, People Need Discomfort Sometimes
This last week, I read of someone who recently moved to this area and is looking for a church for their family. Many told them of their church, which is a great thing to do! What I found disappointing though is that a few stated that they were glad that their church never talks about “politics.” Well, the way that people have taken morals and turned them into political issues, this may mean that people are not hearing the truth and where God stands on moral issues. This really concerns me!
Destroy Immorality Regardless
I hear of people on the news, throwing bombs at crisis pregnancy centers, destroying, them, ruining places and supplies that a pregnant woman could have to take care of her child. Protesters stand on the street in front of our Supreme Court Justices homes, threatening them and their family, yet because of this thing that people consider “politics”, no one is dealing with the immorality! It is a huge disgrace! It is a shame especially if ,in the church, no one stands to say how wrong this is. People in our culture are bold enough to throw bombs and destroy, but people in the church are not bold enough to step up and say how wrong this is!
Please Pray And Stand Boldly
Then when are we praying about these horrific circumstances happening so regularly? We need a huge change in our perspective of truth, real truth. Then we need to walk in it! Don’t accept the way of the world, but the way of God’s Word! Stand Boldly! Meditate and allow this verse to impact your life as well!
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.Colossians 2:8
Transformed And Renewed Minds Please Him
Paul tells us as well, to change (transform) by renewing our mind! We will be able to know and test against what the world teaches and tells us what is right, against what God and His word tells us. If we are NOT changing our mind and standing against ungodly teaching, we have to wonder why. Are we and others who we know, still conforming to the patterns and lifestyles of this world? I believe that this is a great way to test what God says against what the world says.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2