Sin Plaguing the Church

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

If you were to guess the number one sin plaguing the church in America today, what would you say it is? I would say sexual immorality. In fact, from what I can tell, sexual immorality, adultery, sensuality, impurity, passionate lust and homosexuality appear to top the lists of most or all of these passages of Scripture where specific sins are listed and where Christians (the church) are being warned against taking part in these sins, and where they are being called to holiness and obedient walks of faith in Jesus Christ.

Listings of Specific Sins: [Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:16-21; Ephesians 4:17-32; Ephesians 5:3-6; Colossians 3:5-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8]

So, why do you suppose that is? Why does it appear that sexual immorality, in its various forms, tops most or all of these lists of specific sins? I believe it is because the marriage relationship between a man and a woman is to be sacred and held in high honor, and it is to be modeled after our relationships with our Lord. In Scripture we see where marriage between a man and a woman are paralleled over to our marriage to Jesus Christ. And in both cases, if those covenants of marriage are broken, it is called adultery.

Marriage relationships: [Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Matthew 25:1-13; John 3:25-30; John 14:1-3; Ephesians 5:22-33; 2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Revelation 19:6-8; Revelation 21:2-4,9-11; Revelation 22:16-17]

So, when these marriage relationships are broken due to sexual immorality and adultery, in its various forms, it not only impacts those specific relationships, but it impacts the fellowship of the believers, too. It is a lot like what is described for us in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13. Sexual immorality among the fellowship of the believers was being tolerated and it was impacting the whole fellowship, and so they were being counseled to remove from among them the guilty one so that it did not spread throughout the whole body of Christ.

But in America today, if you literally did that in most of these “churches,” you would have to remove probably over half of the congregation. For, according to most statistics I read, over half of American Christian men, including pastors (less than half of them), are engaged in sexual immorality on a consistent and habitual basis. Usually this is in relation to the viewing of sexually explicit materials, but it involves lusting after others, too, which Jesus called adultery, and often it leads to other adulterous actions, too. And a number of women and children are engaged in this, too.

And I believe there are multiple factors involved here, the first of which is that “the church” in America, for the most part, has adopted a gospel message which does not require dying with Christ to sin and living to him and to his righteousness. And many are teaching against walks of obedience and true repentance (turning away from sin). And so we have many people in the gatherings of the church professing faith in Jesus Christ who have not died with Christ to sin and who are not walking in obedience to him.

They believe that their profession of faith in Jesus Christ sealed the deal for them and that all their sins are forgiven and heaven is guaranteed them when they die and that their current sins will not be charged against them. So, many of them feel at liberty to continue in deliberate and habitual sin (the sin which clings so closely) without guilt and without remorse. And so sin continues to permeate the gatherings of the church, and morality continues to plummet, and marriages and families are being destroyed.

Another factor involved here, too, is the easy access to engaging in sexual immorality (and other sins, too) via the internet and social media and especially smart phones (minicomputers) and texting and emailing and illicit internet sites, etc. Many people can now engage in sinful behaviors in the privacy of their own personal space via a smart phone without anyone else knowing what they are doing. And lust is everywhere you look, pretty much, on newsstands, in grocery checkout lines, on billboards, and on most internet sites, it appears, including on some Christian sites, too.

What’s the Solution?

So, what is the solution to it all? First of all, “the church” needs to repent of her spiritual adultery against the Lord, and she needs to start teaching and living the truth of the gospel, and she needs to address sin in the same way that Jesus and his New Testament apostles did rather than giving the professers of faith in Jesus Christ carte blanche to continue in their sins without conscience and without remorse, while promising them heaven when they die.

But all individuals professing faith in Jesus Christ, who are living in immorality and who are making sin their practice, and for whom godliness, righteousness, and obedience to the Lord are not their practice, they need to individually repent of (turn away from, cast aside) their sins which cling so closely, and they need to turn to the Lord and follow him in obedience. Then they can run with endurance the race that God has set before us to run, which involves daily dying to sin and denying self and following the Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).

But not one of us can do this in our own flesh or of our own willpower. We must all surrender our lives over to Jesus Christ and submit to him as Lord (Owner-Master) of our lives. And then we can live holy lives pleasing to him in his power and strength, as we cooperate with his work of grace in our lives. But we must all know that the Scriptures teach that if we don’t do this, but if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, then heaven is not secured for us. We will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Please check it out:

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

He Lifted Our Burdens

An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7

People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.

Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.

Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.

We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.

Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.

He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.

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