Straying Like Sheep

Monday, July 27, 2015, 8:07 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “He Touched My Mouth.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 2 (Selected vv. NASB).

Out of Darkness (vv. 9-10)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Before we came to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, and as Savior of our lives, we were under the control of sin’s deceitfulness, without hope and without God, and headed to hell. Yet God, who is rich in mercy, saved us by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for our sins. He called us out of the darkness of sin into the light of his truth, holiness and righteousness, i.e. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. When he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, death and Satan. When we come to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Jesus did not die just so we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died to give us completely new lives, free from slavery to sin, and free to walk (conduct our lives) in agreement with the Spirit of God; to walk in his righteousness.

Those who are presently under the control of sin’s deceitfulness and headed to hell, though, are not just those who make no profession of Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives. This includes all those who have made false professions of faith, and who have just played (acted) as though they were followers of Christ, but who are not truly saved, perhaps because they were self-deceived into believing they were saved, or were possibly intending to be deceptive. Some of these professors of faith mouth empty words of praise to God, but they are just vain repetitions, insincere and shallow declarations of faith and adoration of God, which are self-focused and not God-focused. Many people today have bought into Satan’s lies which tell them that if they just pray a prayer to receive Christ that they have their ticket into heaven guaranteed, and no one can take that away from them, no matter how badly they sin after that. The lie says that God requires nothing of us at all in the way of turning from sin, following Christ in obedience, and surrendering our wills to the will of God. Yet, if they would just read the Bible, it is real clear all throughout the New Testament that we are called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. This is true salvation!

God called us to be holy, which means to be set apart (separate, unlike, different) from this sinful world, because we are becoming like Christ. Yet, so many professing Christians today are not living remarkably different from the world, but they are blending in with today’s culture, and, thus, they are a mixed bag of worldly and godly, with a diverse assortment of philosophies, values, and beliefs. They have strayed away from their pure devotion to Jesus Christ, and have allowed worldly influences to creep back into their lives. Though I know this is not a new concept, as the people of God of old did the same, I do believe that television, movies, the internet, social media, private internet access, and the like, have largely contributed to influencing this downward spiral in the spiritual lives of so many Christians today. The meetings of the church largely reflect this mixture of holy and worldly, but they are moving further and further away from holy and are becoming increasingly worldly, and are blending together humanistic philosophy with God’s Word, which stands in contradiction to human-based teachings, philosophies and human-based religion.

As followers of Jesus Christ, though, we are not to immerse ourselves in our culture, but we are chosen of God to be the Light of the world and the Salt of the earth in shining the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to this sinful world so that many can be saved. As a royal priesthood, we are the children of the King of kings, and Lord of lords. As priests we not only have the privilege of being able to enter into God’s holy presence, by faith in Jesus Christ, but we are called to be living sacrifices to God, holy and pleasing to him, which is our reasonable service of worship to him, no longer conformed to the pattern of this sinful world, but transformed in the renewing of our minds so we can discern and obey God’s good, pleasing and perfect will (See: Ro. 12:1-2). We are also to be ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in praying for people, and in sharing the love and grace of Jesus Christ with them, proclaiming to them the holiness and righteousness of God, and how Jesus came to save us from slavery to sin and to free us to walk in his righteousness and holiness. Through spiritual discernment, because we have had our minds renewed, we can see the wrong turn God’s church (or the institutional church) is taking, and thus we should be calling out to those who are straying, and we should be calling them to repentance.

Abstain from Fleshly Lusts (vv. 11-12)

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

What does it mean to be an alien or a stranger? It means that we are not citizens of this world, but our home is in heaven with God. So, we should not live our lives any longer as though we are part of (participants in) this sinful world. God has called us to come out from this world of sin and to be separate, yet it seems today that not many who call themselves followers of Christ are truly separate, and those who are, are often called “extremists,” or “hyper-religious” or “out of touch” with reality or “strange.” So many professing Christians today are daily allowing themselves to be entertained by the sinful acts of others via TV, movies, the internet, or by worldly music, and thus they are feeding their minds with sin. We have heard the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” What we daily feed into our minds is bound to come out in our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. So many who call themselves followers of Christ, thus, speak and act just like the world, rather than speak and act just like those who have been called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. Thus, they are not shining as lights for the gospel to this sinful world, because they don’t live as aliens.

Live to Righteousness (vv. 21-25)

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Jesus Christ died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This is the essence of the gospel of our salvation. If we are not daily dying to sin and living to righteousness, all in the power and working of the Spirit of God within us, who has given us new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, then something is terribly wrong. We have strayed from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ to following after our flesh, humanistic teachings, and sinful pleasures.

There is a serious problem going on within the church today, and that is that the church has largely moved away from teaching walking in the fear of the Lord and walking in Christ’s holiness, and living to please God, to teaching salvation by faith in Jesus Christ absent of the cross of Christ in our lives. So many Christians want the resurrection without the cross. They want freedom, but not freedom from slavery to sin, but a free license to continue in sin free from guilt and remorse. But, that is not what God is offering us. That is not why Christ died. He didn’t die so we could continue in sin, and so we could dabble in all kinds of teachings contrary to his Word. That goes against his divine nature and godly character.

The church has also largely turned away from the reality that the church, the body of Christ, is the collective body of believers in Jesus Christ, with Christ as her only head, to following the belief and practice that the church is an organization of human origin, run and marketed just like any other human-based business, with the government and humans as her head. The meetings of “the church” are not comprised solely of the body of believers, either, for the mutual encouragement and edification of the body of Christ, but they are designed to attract the people of this sinful world through worldly and sometimes sinful means and methods. The gospel of Jesus Christ is, thus, diluted in order to make it more agreeable, comfortable and appealing to the people of this world. The public meetings of the church may include the body of Christ within those meetings, but they are no longer, for the most part, true fellowships of the body of believers in Christ, but are open to the public, and are largely focused around the “big show” in order to entertain the world, rather than to confront the world with sin, and to call for repentance and obedience to God’s Word.

Yet, now, a large portion of what calls itself “church” has turned from a straight course and has deviated to following a course of action leading it to a one-world religion, incorporating all religions together into one. So, they have had to dilute the gospel even more, in order to conform the gospel to this deviation of direction (course), i.e. in order for us to cooperate with this emerging (evolving) church movement. President Obama, the Pope and Rick Warren, among many others, are powerful voices promoting this deviation in today’s church (or institutional church). Basically, what this movement is teaching is that we need to put aside what divides us, and we need to come together as one people (all people from all religions and even atheists) and work together to make this world a better place. The focus is on all of us just getting along, accepting others who are different from us, and choosing to not try to convince others to believe as we do. This, in reality, is no longer a dilution of the gospel, but it is an eradicating of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We need to stand strong against this, and we need to warn God’s people to not forget their Lord or the gospel of salvation, but to return to the Shepherd and Guardian of their souls. So, so many are wandering off like sheep going astray. We need to call them to return. We need to be discerning about the direction the church is headed, so we can warn others, but also so we do not get caught in the web of deception ourselves. The Lord’s sheep know his voice, they listen to him, and they follow (obey) him, and no one can snatch them out of the Lord’s hands. They do not recognize the voice of strangers, so they will not follow them (See: John 10).

Make sure today you are a true sheep who is listening to and is following (obeying) the Lord Jesus, and that you are not following after false gods, a false (deviated) religion, and a false gospel which does not teach death to sin and living to righteousness, because God called us out of darkness (sin) into his marvelous light (truth, righteousness and holiness). Thus, we need to no longer walk according to (in agreement with) our sinful flesh, but we must conduct our lives in agreement with, and under the direction, supervision and empowerment of the Holy Spirit within us, living holy lives, pleasing to God (See: Ro. 8:1-14).

He Touched My Mouth / An Original Work / June 13, 2012

Based off Isaiah 6:1-8; Jeremiah 1:4-9

Oh, I saw the Lord
Seated on His throne,
High and lifted up;
Holy is the Lord!
The earth is full
of His glory.
“Woe to me,” I cried,
“I’m of unclean lips.”

My Lord touched my mouth
With His cleansing pow’r;
Removed all my guilt,
Paid for by His blood.
He asked, “Whom shall I send;
Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here am I.
Send me!”

Before I was born,
God set me apart;
He appointed me
To His servant be.
I said, “I don’t know
How to speak.
I am but a child.”
Then, the Lord replied:

“Do not say to me,
‘I am but a child.’
You must go to all,
And do what I say.
Do not fear them,
For I’m with you.”
My Lord touched my mouth;
Gave me words to say.

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