Monday, March 22, 2021

We Must Be Insulated Not Isolated

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” —Ephesians 2:1-6

Martie and I watch 2 sermons on Sundays. We get our second COVID shot the end of this month. But we are still undecided about when we are going to start attending the services in person. I find it interesting that I have encouraged people to meet together (not forsaking assembling together) and here we are at one year of not doing that very thing. So we get a double dose on Sunday. But then I wonder about the many who don’t have the luxury of the internet streaming Sunday sermons into their homes. Those same people will not be reading this come to think of it. How far is my concern supposed to go? A challenge for all of us.

In the context of Ephesians 2, can it be that while I struggle with my own faithfulness and temptation to drift back to the way I “once walked” that God might use me to encourage others to resist doing the same thing? The answer is yes. Pastor Morgan Bailey would say, “God can hit straight with a crooked stick.” Meaning that God, in His wisdom and power can use any of His sons and daughters, even with their imperfections.  There is not one pastor – evangelist – teacher, past present of future that lived a perfect life – even after their new birth.  All of us are drawn to our natural side. That is why Paul was encouraging the Ephesians. Reminding them of where they had come from and encouraging them to resist the temptation of go back there.

 “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” – 1 Corinthians 15:33

You are only going to get that kind of encouragement from other Christians.  I was thinking about some kids that I hung out with when I was in grade school. I was about 10 years old I think.  There were three brothers. We did what boys do, but there was more.  They encouraged me to do what I would normally not do. One day, I took money from my mom’s piggy bank – to buy some soda for all of us.  I knew it was wrong even as I stole into her room and took the money but my friends told me that it wasn’t and I wanted to be part of the group so I went along with it. The owner of the local grocery store called my mom and told her that I was spending money in the store. She confronted me and I confessed. That was the end of my association with those brothers.  Not long after, the grocery store owner gave me a job pricing cans, stocking shelves and scrubbing the butcher block – and until today I never connected the two events. There were 9 of us in my family and we lived simply. I guess he knew that and had compassion for us. 

My point – Christians should encourage other Christians to honor God. Those who are not Christians – and some who are but have abandoned the faith, encourage each other to live in a manner that gratifies their lusts – the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Don’t think for a minute that we are all not vulnerable to drifting away from our new life and becoming immersed in a “form of righteousness”.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” – 2 Timothy 3:2-5

Christian, these are spiritually perilous times we live in. Just as many generations have faced before us. Think about it, Paul wrote to the Ephesians nearly 2,000 years ago. We cannot isolate ourselves from the world – God has sent us out to be witnesses to His grace and mercy through His Son. But we must insulate ourselves from the influences of this world.  Jesus was a friend of sinners, and yet did not participate in their sin. Instead, He encouraged them to repentance and restoration. And we should do the same. We cannot live our new life in our own power – but only by the power of God that is in us.

Believe it – walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

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

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