Pure Within

Friday, July 05, 2013, 7:29 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Open My Heart” playing in my mind. Lord, “open my heart. Let your truth in. Make of me a servant, pure within.” In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen! I read 1 Co. 5; 6:13b-19 (NIV): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%205&version=NIV; http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%206&version=NIV

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

…The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Sexual Immorality

Paul was addressing the church in Corinth corporately. There was known sexual sin present among the congregation, and yet it was not dealt with. A man was sleeping with his father’s wife, i.e. he was in an incestuous relationship with his mother or with his step-mother. And, the church was proud, not necessarily proud of the sin, but proud of their standing with God, with their worship, with their meetings (gatherings of the church), and/or with the church as a whole, while ignoring this man’s obvious and grievous sin. And, the same goes on today, at least I know it does in the church in America.

Today’s culture and technological advances takes sexual sin to a new level. Via the internet, in particular, a whole world of evil is available at our fingertips. Any type of sexual deviation we could even imagine or not imagine is available to anyone with an internet connection, which is the vast majority of people in America, including inside the church and among its leadership. Pornography addiction is rampant, and a high percentage of clergy have become prey to this addiction, too. Cable and satellite TV also provides much in the way of pornographic video. Yet, lest we should think we are not among the addicted, we should pay close attention to the TV shows and movies we view, the music we listen to, the video games we play, et al. Many of today’s TV programs and movies glorify sin, or nullify the seriousness of adultery and sexual relations outside of marriage, including homosexual relations. And today’s church is very caught up in the culture of today.

When we take into our minds even the slightest references to illicit sex or to illicit romantic affairs, and we learn to laugh at them or wink at them thinking we are just taking in a little bit of bad (like a little poop in our brownies) for the greater good of being entertained by the whole, then we open that door of evil to take a hold in our lives and to begin to work its way through like yeast in a batch of dough. I know. Been there! And, things unimaginable to us at one point in our lives may be the very things we do at some other point in our lives when we are most vulnerable, including participating in adultery, homosexuality, pornography addiction, wife or couple swapping, sexual orgies, et al. And, even the most dedicated believers in Christ are not beyond being sucked into a sexual deviant lifestyle if they begin to let down their guard and they begin to accept even a little poop in their brownies. So, “be careful little eyes what you see, and be careful little ears what you hear…”

Yet, going back to the issue of unchecked sin within the church as a whole, though I don’t have direct knowledge of all churches in America, obviously, I suspect that what I have personally witnessed or have become aware of within many a church congregation here in America is true across America, and perhaps is true in other countries, as well. What I have witnessed is a general lack of concern or a purposeful negligence of dealing with unrepentant sin within congregations, because dealing with sin makes people uncomfortable, and we don’t want to offend them with the truth, because they may not come back, and they may take people with them someplace where no one will get in their faces about anything. And, I am quite convinced that this does go on.

When we teach a diluted gospel that says we don’t have to turn from our lives of sin, and we don’t have to follow Jesus Christ in obedience in order to be saved, and that God is pleased with us no matter we do, we open the door wide within our churches for gross sin and all sin (unrepentant) to go on unchecked. When that happens, the sin works its way through the congregation and through our homes and families like wildfire, or like yeast in bread, and it impacts and affects many, either directly or indirectly.

What to Do?

The first thing we need to do is to do a self-examination of our own hearts and lives, asking God, by his Spirit, to reveal to our hearts any areas where we are giving way to sin and to Satan, even in the area of just allowing a little “poop” to enter into our minds for entertainment purposes. We need to be willing to ask the Lord to search our hearts and minds and to show us where we are at fault, and then we need to turn from that sin and to allow the Spirit of God to daily purify us from all sin (see 1 John 1).

We are not our own, we were bought with a price (Jesus’ blood). Therefore, we should honor God with our bodies. And, this necessitates that we daily turn from sin, and that we walk in obedience to Christ and to his commands, seeking his will and his purposes for our lives, and doing what he desires and requires of us.

Then, if we know of someone living in sin within the church, we should go to that person with the objective of restoring that person back to a right relationship with God (See Gal. 6:1-5; Jm. 5:19-20). I would caution here, though, against women addressing men with sexual sin or men addressing women. If a woman needs to address a man, or vice versa, she should take with her another woman and/or a man. I believe we need to exercise wisdom with this. Yet, the sin should not be ignored. Then, if the person refuses, we should follow the Biblical model for taking others along with us to the point of the person being removed from the church fellowship, if he or she does not turn from the sin. We, nonetheless, cannot control what the church leadership decides to do about the sin. All we can do is to do what we can, and then if the leadership refuses to listen, we just have to turn the situation over to God in prayer, trusting the Lord to move in people’s hearts.

The point here is that many a church congregation is looking the other way, or else they are promoting sin, and/or the leadership is involved in gross sin themselves, which is why they won’t address it in others. When we choose to use worldly methods, such as movie clips from movies with obvious sexual situations or references in them, in our church (or parachurch) meetings in order to attract the world to the “gospel” or to the “church” or to “Jesus,” and we appeal to the flesh of humans in order to make church fun and entertaining and we dilute the gospel so as not to offend people, we open the door wide for rampant sin that works its way through our congregations like yeast in dough.

So, the solution is that we return to what the Bible teaches about sin and about how to deal with sin within the church. We need to grieve over sin, not be entertained by it. So many are desensitized to sin, and thus do not grieve, and so nothing is done about it. And, then we need to follow the Biblical model for addressing unrepentant sin with other believers individually and corporately. We need to be willing to have people leave our churches because we teach the truth of God’s word, the true gospel of salvation, and because we take sin seriously. We are not being nice or kind to anyone when we overlook continued and willful sin and rebellion. We should all love one another enough to tell each other the truth. And, then if they will not listen, and we have followed the appropriate steps as far as is within our ability to do so, then we just have to let go and let God.

Though this may be impossible to do individually, in some cases, corporately the church should not allow within the fellowship of the church those who are involved in willful, unrepentant and defiant sin. Yet, I also believe that individually, where possible, we should also follow this practice of not hanging out with other believers we know are involved in unrepentant sin, as they may influence us to go along with them.

Open My Heart / An Original Work / July 2, 2013

“Be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil”(Rm. 16:19b).

Open my heart. Let Your truth in.
Make of me a servant, pure within;
Sing of Your praise all of my days.
Let Your Spirit transform all my ways.
Jesus Christ died on a cross to
Save me from my sin.
“Repent of sin. Be cleansed within.
Obey all of His commands today.”

“Why do you doubt? Why do you fear?
Jesus Christ will wipe away your tears.
He cares for you. He feels your pain.
Die to sin, and life with Him you’ll gain.
Follow Him where’er He leads you.
Talk with Him each day.
Then you will know what He has planned
For your life before your world began.”

“Come unto Me, weary in heart.
Let My love and grace to you impart.
Believe in Me. Trust in My care.
Take your burdens to the Lord in prayer.
He will meet all of your needs,
And give you peace within.
Rejoice in Him! Tell of His love.
He will give you comfort from above.”