Proverbs 1:7, 10-19 ESV
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
“My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us ambush the innocent without reason;
like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
we shall find all precious goods,
we shall fill our houses with plunder;
throw in your lot among us;
we will all have one purse’—
my son, do not walk in the way with them;
hold back your foot from their paths,
for their feet run to evil,
and they make haste to shed blood.
For in vain is a net spread
in the sight of any bird,
but these men lie in wait for their own blood;
they set an ambush for their own lives.
Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
it takes away the life of its possessors.”
Opening of Eyes
At the beginning of 1999 my husband and I began a ministry to college students (or to college age adults) out of our home. We began having weekly Bible studies where we also fed the students a meal each week. Soon we added on a time of singing praise and worship music prior to the time of Bible study together, and we added mid-week Bible studies where we separated the men from the women and I taught the women. This continued for 7.5 years before we closed the doors to this ministry in May of 2006.
It was around this time (1999) that I first was introduced to the Rick Warren purpose driven church movement, and that is when my eyes began to be opened to the secularizing of church and of the gospel. I began to see how this Rick Warren purpose driven church movement had spread all throughout our area and across denominational boundaries, too. That didn’t just happen. That was carefully orchestrated from people high up.
My eyes began to be opened to the marketing of the church just like any other business, and the “church” not being mainly comprised of those of genuine faith in Jesus Christ. This was now a business opened up to and being marketed to the people of the world. And so they made compromises in order to appeal to and to appease the people of the world.
Those who were behind this movement were people in high up positions in the government and in church denominations. For, the church had already partnered with the government and incorporated under the state, thus becoming a state church, not the body of Christ, although the body of Christ was present among those who were part of this state church. Yet, not all congregations of the saints joined in, but most did, I believe.
A False Church
So, what this union of government and church produced was the halting of the moving of the Holy Spirit in people’s hearts and minds, via the secularizing and the altering of the gospel to make it more attractive and acceptable to the world, and via the altering of how church was conducted to make it more attractive and appealing to the flesh of humans.
So, what this produced was a false church which replaced (supplanted) the true church. What most people in America think of when they think of church is buildings and programs and activities and stage productions and cool sounding music which appeals to young people, it would appear. Or they think of fun and exciting and entertaining pastors who give pep talks and who crack jokes and who put on good shows for the audience.
Not every congregation is like this, mind you, but it does appear that the vast majority are. They have gone the way of the world in order to draw in large crowds of people from the world, so they have compromised with the world, and have become like the world, so that the world will feel at home in their gatherings and will want to come back. What is wrong with this picture?
A False Gospel
But, back to the halting of the moving of the Holy Spirit. In order to attract the world to their gatherings they diluted (altered, adulterated) the gospel of Jesus Christ to make it more acceptable to human flesh. They reduced faith in Jesus Christ to a mere acknowledgment of who he was and what he did, and they removed from the gospel the requirements for repentance (forsaking one’s sins), obedience to God, and submission to Jesus as Lord.
Now all anyone had to do was to claim they believed in Jesus and they were told they now were forgiven their sins and that heaven was now guaranteed them when they die, no matter what. Some even take it so far as to say that we don’t have to repent, or obey, or submit to Christ as Lord, for they call that “works-based salvation” which is to be avoided, according to them.
So, now the true church, the body of Christ, with Christ as her only head, has been supplanted with a false church which is of men and which appeals to human flesh. And now the gospel of Jesus Christ has been supplanted by a cheap grace gospel which makes no demands for holy living or for submission and obedience to Jesus Christ as Lord.
And now they are intolerant of the true gospel and of those who are teaching the true gospel, for they reject the true gospel, for the most part, in favor of this cheap grace gospel which allows them to continue living in sinful rebellion against the Lord while promising them heaven when they die.
And now they are trying to lure us into compromise of our faith and convictions by trying to convince us that we are legalistic or that we are teaching “works-based salvation,” or that we are being judgmental and unloving and unkind. And they are trying to convince us that love that is of God makes room for this habitual and deliberate sinning against the Lord. For they paint God’s forgiveness of sins as tolerance of habitual and deliberate sinful rebellion against him.
So, we are being called upon here to resist such enticement and manipulation and deception. We are being called upon to put up our guard against such allurement and to not give it any openings or opportunities in our lives. We are not to consent to a gospel which teaches that we can keep living in sinful rebellion against our Lord without true repentance.
For those who are spreading this false gospel are definitely those who are seeking people’s lives to destroy them, to give them a false hope of heaven when they die based on a lie from hell which tells them that God’s forgiveness covers all their sins so that they can keep on sinning, only now without guilt and without the fear of punishment.
But we are not to join in with them. We are not to participate with them in their lies and their deception and in the destruction of human lives. We are not to walk in their ways. We are to come out from among them and be separate, for their sins are piled high to heaven, lest we end up taking part with them in their sins and in their punishment (Rev 18:4-5).
Surrendered to Jesus Christ
Instead, our lives are to be surrendered to Jesus Christ and committed to following him in his truth and righteousness. We are to deny self and die daily to sin and follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands. All that we have should belong to the Lord, and we should be willing to leave all of this world’s goods and attractions behind us to follow Jesus in obedience.
So, we need to put on our armor of God and resist the devil and these enticements to join in with this false church with its false faith and its false gospel and its false worship of God. For Jesus called us out of the world to be holy, set apart from the world and unto God for his service. And we need to be sharing the true gospel which calls for repentance and obedience.
For we are all going to stand before God one day and we are going to be judged by our works. If we sowed to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sowed to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. For, if we walk (in practice) according to our flesh, in sin, we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2]
YOU RAISE ME UP
Brendan Graham / Rolf Lovland
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be.
Caution: This link may contain ads