Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Straddling The Spiritual Fence

 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.’” —Revelation 3:14-16

After all the time that you have called Jesus, Lord, do you yet struggle with sin and the temptation to sin?  I do and I would like to think that I am not alone. Jesus – the Amen and the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, the First Born among many in the spiritual family of God, the Lamb of God – He saved me from the penalty of Sin – but not so I might continue to sin as if sin is inevitable and to some degree acceptable.  I think that was the problem with the church of Laodicea – a group of people that were content with being lukewarm – wanting to be both – saved from hell and content with accommodating sin.

The idea that it is OK with God if we live like that is a lie from the pit of hell.  Jesus railed against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees because they embraced the idea of straddling the spiritual fence.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” – Matthew 23:23-28

God looks at and judges our hearts – not our appearance or the pretenses that we present to others. We compromise our faith for the comfort we find in the acceptance of the world. We yield to sin because it is so easy to do – like slipping on an old pair of shoes – worn and conformed to our feet and the way we walk. We do it with no thought of how displeasing it is to the One we have said that we love with our whole heart. The One who is always present – even in the darkness that we think we hide in as well revel in our sin.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

We are to be salt and light in the world.  Our job is not to change the world. Our job – our responsibility is to point the world to the One who can change hearts and eternal destinies.  As imitators of God we should be His reflection – a sharp, supernatural contrast to the natural.  Of course we should do good things – but that is a result of the love we have for God, primarily, and the difference that love relationship makes in our lives. We should not continue in sin. We should not and must not become content with a “little” sin in our lives as if it does not matter to God.

We will all struggle with the temptation to so long as we live in these mortal bodies – but that does not mean we should be content with sin.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” – Ephesians 5:8-11

I want to encourage you to examine your life – as I must do mine – considering our ways in light of the God we serve, the Savoir we follow, the Spirit that leads us and the Word that enlightens us.  It is something we must do every day – perhaps every minute of every hour. The journey – the life – that God has called us to is impossible to walk and to live without Him.  Don’t deceive yourself and imagine that it is OK to be lukewarm. It is not. Jesus did not go to the cross so we could live lukewarm lives.

….. those of you who do not give up everything [everything about your culture and way of living that you love that is contrary to the Word of God] you have cannot be my disciples. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” – Luke 14:33-35

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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