SIN & THE
Do you believe you can continue to sin and still go to heaven? Do you think you can just tell God you are sorry after you sin without earnestly turning away from those sins? He expects us to obey Him and learn to overcome. He expects us to gain victory over our besetting sins.
In this generation so many believe “love” to be merely about favor and blessings. For sure, God wants to bless us because He loves us. He is kind, encouraging and faithful, but true love is much more than that. Love is correction and discipline (rebuke and chastening). Jesus said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:19).
Do you spank (not beat) your kids when they disobey? You should. God tells us to discipline our children. (Proverbs 13:24). Our society is now suffering because parents have not properly disciplined their kids. This has caused a lot of disrespect and rebellion. When you spank, you are purposely inflicting pain to train your children to obey. It should remind them, if they do this again, it will be painful.
God has been gracious and kind to you even while you have been sinning. But please don’t make the mistake of thinking that His patience is actually permission to continue in sin. That would be a very foolish mistake. Just because He has been patient with you until now doesn’t mean the next time you sin there won’t be serious consequences.
It’s not that difficult to understand the ways of God. He is a loving Father who trains, encourages, protects, and provides for you. He will also discipline you when necessary. If you tell your teen to be home by 10 pm and they show up at 10:30, you will remind them of the rules. If this happens a second time, some discipline would be in order. How about the 3rd or 4th time, even coming home later? You bring a stricter punishment for disrespecting you and for continuing to disregard your rules.
Painful consequences are a very good deterrent! This is an act of love because the parent wants the best for their child, helping them to become responsible adults. What has your heavenly Father told you to do or not do? Expect to be disciplined if you continue to disobey Him.
What if you caught your child stealing money from your wallet? What would you do? I hope you would correct and discipline them. If they asked forgiveness, you would forgive them, right? But what if you caught them doing the same thing next week, and the week after that? Their saying, “I’m sorry,” wouldn’t be enough, would it? Wouldn’t you seriously warn them and increase the discipline? Why? Because you’re a good parent and want them to grow to be an obedient, responsible adult, not a thief. Why would you think that your heavenly Father would allow you to continue in sin? Do you think He’s satisfied with you telling Him you’re sorry? You would expect your child to stop stealing from you, or stop doing anything you told them not to do.
Think about this: If you let your kids only eat junk food and candy, and let them do whatever they want, whenever they felt like it, what kind of adults would they grow up to be? Probably selfish, undisciplined and unproductive. How could you think your heavenly Father wouldn’t expect obedience and then discipline you when you didn’t obey?
What do you want your kids to be like? To know, love, and serve the Lord, for sure. And you want them to be loving, kind and self-sacrificing, not selfish and self-centered. Also, humble, obedient, and respectful of authority. You want them to show up for work on time and to have perseverance and endurance, not quitting when things get tough. That’s why you train them in these things. You also allow them to fail and learn from their mistakes. Your heavenly Father expects the same from you.
Don’t you expect your children to obey you? Why would you think your heavenly Father wouldn’t expect you to obey Him?
Please understand that repentance is all about doing whatever is necessary to turn away from your sin. You can be sure the Lord will help you, but He will also apply discipline to teach you to obey Him. Be careful, Christian. You should respect AND fear God. “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15). His discipline can be painful. Don’t harden your heart. Allow Him to do whatever He needs to do in your life.
When we disobey the Lord do you think He becomes irritated because He is God and says, “How dare you disobey Me?” No! He loves you and wants you to succeed. Here is a good example: A loving father asks his son to weed the garden. The son later comes to the father and says, “I love you, dad, and I want to please you, but I messed up. I pulled out some of your seedlings thinking they were weeds. Please forgive me.” Do you think this father would slap his son, call him a fool and punish him? A loving father would forgive his son, and then teach him how to do it better.
But what if the son didn’t care about pleasing his father? He just wanted to get this over so he could go and have some fun. He didn’t care about doing a good job; he rushed and was careless. This loving father would surely have a different response. He would be displeased with his son, and He would probably give him a warning. If the son continued to be careless in the things his father asked him to do, he would surely be disciplined until he learned to do his father’s will, the way his father wanted him to do it.
And remember, the same dad who takes you to the park and reads you stories at night is the same dad who warns you to behave and then spanks you if you don’t heed the warning. This isn’t too hard to understand, is it? Your heavenly Father is similar. This is why He chose to reveal Himself as a Father. He is for us and not against us. He is a perfect Father who wants His children to be all that they were created to be here on earth and to spend eternity with them.
Nevertheless, if you think that God is not severe at times, you can ask the Christians who are now incarcerated because of their sinful behavior. Sadly, there are many. In addition, there are those who have ruined their marriage, lost their property and finances, and some now have sexually transmitted diseases. You may want to blame all of this on the devil, but know that Almighty God is in control of all things and He did not spare them, but allowed or caused them to suffer severe consequences, to be severely disciplined. This too is the love of God. Has the Lord been warning you? He usually warns first and then He disciplines.
He does not delight in punishing you. Nevertheless, your loving Father means what He says. He will reluctantly inflict pain, bringing or allowing painful situations, to help you learn to obey Him. No one likes correction or chastening – I certainly don’t. Nevertheless, I’m very grateful that my heavenly Father chastened me. His discipline has taught me so much! If He had left me to my desires, I would probably be dead and in hell.
Some of you are now being disciplined by our Father. Please remember that He loves you, and you will come through this. Don’t run away! “‘And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives’.” (Hebrews 12:5-6). This is true love!
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). However, you are not to continue in your sin; you must turn from it. Consider what Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “… go and sin no more” (John 8:11), and to the man healed at the Pool of Bethesda, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you” (John 5:14).
Do you believe you can continue to sin and still go to heaven? Do you think you can just tell God you are sorry after you sin without earnestly turning away from those sins? He expects us to obey Him and learn to overcome. He expects us to gain victory over our besetting sins. He has given the Holy Spirit to help us. You must resist temptation!
Hebrews 12:4 says, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” It’s uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but it’s quite obvious that YOU must take a stand and resist temptation. If it is too difficult for you, seek help. Run to God, not away from Him. He will help you! Spend more time in prayer, worship, and reading the word. It’s time to stop making excuses.
There are Christians who truly love God and want to please Him, yet, at times they struggle with sin. They feel terrible after sinning and truly repent, doing whatever is necessary to stay away from that sin. There are also Christians who excuse themselves and continue to sin. You can be sure there is a difference between weakness and wickedness. But before you excuse yourself, citing your weakness, know that God will judge both the weak and the wicked using the same standard—the Word of God. (John 12:48).
Remember, “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14). “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Revelation 3:5). This implies that those who do not overcome can have their name blotted out from the Book of Life.
God is holy and means what He says. You will suffer eternal consequences.
Are there emotional issues that contribute to sinning? For sure! Some of these issues include discouragement, depression, self-pity, fear, anxiety, worry, loneliness and insecurity, to name a few. If you feel you cannot overcome these, you may need healing and/or deliverance. Nevertheless, you will never see them as excuses in the Scriptures. Believe me, I am not cold-hearted in saying this. I suffered from some of these things in the past and succumbed to self-indulgence and sin.
As a Christian, many years ago, I was in a very difficult situation for a long while. I was okay as long as I focused on Jesus. But, when I began to focus on myself, saying “What about me? Don’t I have the right to be happy?” I lost sight of Him and fell into self-pity. Thoughts of self-pity can lead to sin, pain, and regret (James 1:15). Temptation entered my life and I said, “I can’t take this anymore; maybe God will allow this. Maybe I will still go to heaven.” Then, I sinned and suffered the consequences. Don’t be deceived. When you see yourself thinking like this, run to Jesus. He is in control of all things and is working this adversity for your good. Trust Him; don’t run away from Him. You will come through this.
Have you found yourself saying, “God knows that I’m lonely, He knows I’m discouraged, or bored, etc.?” Or, have you said, “He doesn’t mind if I look at porn, eat or drink too much, take a few drugs, or buy a few more things that I don’t need; I need something to make me feel better?”
Please get help! You are “self-medicating” and that will make things much worse and could lead you far away from God. The Lord certainly forgives when you turn from sin, but He never excuses it. You won’t be able to stand before Him on judgment day and say, “I couldn’t help it.”
There are times or seasons in most Christian’s lives when we fumble, fall into self-pity, indulge the flesh and sin. Hopefully, these are short seasons. Our loving God convicts us of sin, brings us to repentance, and draws us close again. Nevertheless, some will resist Him. If this season lasts too long, you are in danger. Sin is deceiving and your heart will become hardened (Hebrews 3:13). Some never come home.
Return to your First Love! Come home now! Don’t think you can hang on the edge of Christianity, doing your own thing. There is no such thing as a “nominal” Christian. Jesus must truly be your Lord. “You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.” (Deuteronomy 13:4).
Something else to consider: Jesus was a perfect man. Do you understand the significance of this truth? He was a man! Jesus referred to Himself as the “Son of Man” 84 times in the 4 Gospels. Of course, He was God, but never minimize the fact that He was a man. When He was tired, He needed to sleep. When hungry, He wanted to eat. He was very afraid in the Garden of Gethsemane, even to the point of sweating blood. (Luke 22:44) knowing that He was about to be brutally tortured. I’m sure He also felt the wounds of rejection from family and friends. (Mark 3:21, John 7:5). The scriptures tell us He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). This must have also included sexual temptation. The man Jesus was able to resist every temptation of the flesh and those from the devil. (Matthew 4:1-10). He knew that His mission on earth was to remain a pure, spotless Lamb. (John 1:29), the sacrifice for our sins. Offering a blemished Lamb would be an abomination to God. (Deuteronomy 17:1).
The man Jesus lived a sinless life! Absolutely amazing! Doesn’t this make you want to fall on your knees and worship Him? He can surely help you overcome sin by the power of His Holy Spirit. Even so, you must cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh. (2 Corinthians 7:1).
God wants you to know that He is with you in this fight. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Everyone is tempted, but God won’t let you be tempted beyond your ability to endure. He will make a way of escape (1Corinthians 10:13) but you must flee from that person, place, or thing:
1. Ask for help.
2. Become accountable to someone.
3. Confess your sin to another.
4. Receive deliverance.
5. Do whatever is necessary
Do not succumb to self-pity (“I’m never going to get this right”) and be tempted to throw in the towel. And don’t latch on to false teachers who make you feel better about yourself by saying, “God understands; you don’t need to repent. Your sins are already covered by grace.” This is heresy and will leave you shipwrecked.
Why then does all of this have to be so difficult? If you can receive it – God designed it that way. You are being conformed to the image of Christ and adversity is necessary. In the struggle you are humbled, broken, and refined. In addition, in the midst of it all, God reveals more of Himself to you, more of who He is. You are also being prepared to rule and reign with Christ.
Don’t you agree that there should be some rigorous training for that glorious purpose? Hang in there, my friend. With the help (grace) of God you can, and will get this right. Remember, do whatever is necessary!
Sadly, many think that it’s necessary to only speak of God’s love to win the backslider and disciple God’s people. This is not true. This way of thinking is a product of American culture. If you review the words of Jesus, you will find He mentioned God’s love for us very few times!
Of course, Jesus demonstrated God’s love through healings and deliverance, and then suffered and died for us, but you will find many more corrections, warnings and moral imperatives in Jesus’ teaching than comments about God’s love. The same is true of the epistles.
For sure, we want sinners coming to our churches so they can hear the gospel and be saved, healed and delivered from their sins. We are to love them with the love of Christ. Nevertheless, be aware that love must be given with truth, not compromise. You will only win the lost and bring the backslider home with love AND truth.
In this hour, many have been deceived. They ignore biblical truth and embrace cultural morality instead. They refuse to repent, insisting they have not sinned. We must tell them the truth. If there is no true repentance, there can be no salvation. Over the past few decades there has been so much teaching on God’s love, and yet, we have seen backsliding increase and the Church decline, becoming lukewarm and compromised. Don’t you think it’s time for a different approach? God does.
What if, the next time you complain, criticize, gossip, lie, steal, commit sexual sin, lose your temper, drink too much, or use drugs, etc., you suffer an unpleasant or painful consequence? Would this help you repent? I hope so. Things will go from bad to worse if you don’t. You can ask those who finally repented after they lost everything, including family and friends, or those who were in jail or a hospital.
Here are some of the devastating effects of continued sin in the life of a Christian….Sin:
- Hinders your relationship with God and prevents true intimacy with Him.
- Hinders your prayers, even prevents them from being answered.
- Hinders the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Hinders the work of sanctification, being conformed to the image of Christ.
- Hinders you from fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.
- Will ruin your Christian witness and your reputation.
- Prevents you from receiving the blessings of God.
- Could remove God’s protection from your life.
- Invites the Lord’s discipline, which could be severe.
- Opens the door for demonic oppression and the destruction that follows.
- May prevent you from entering heaven if you neglect genuine repentance.
If you received a warning from your boss at work because of something you did that you shouldn’t have done or for something you didn’t do that you should have, you would probably take it seriously. Your livelihood could be at risk. I hope you are heeding the warnings from God. For some of you, this is not your first warning. You should be very careful!
I am now seeing many Christians suffering the consequences of their sins: After looking at porn, someone got a speeding ticket and recognized it was a warning from the Lord but didn’t stop using porn. Then they dropped their new phone in the bathtub while looking at porn and ruined it. Then they were blackmailed because of their involvement with online porn. Another was robbed, then arrested. One other brother had been warned by God regarding his sins, but didn’t stop, and then his wife found out; it almost ruined their marriage. Still, another had their car windows smashed out after repeated warnings about sinning.
Those who continue in sin have lost opportunities, and doors have been closed. They’ve lost money, materials, property and relationships. Some have even lost their freedom – they were sentenced to prison. Many have lost their emotional and physical health as a result of sin, and worst of all, many have lost their life and their soul.
There is also another serious consequence of sin. When you continue in sin, you open the door for demons to come into you. Now it’s even more difficult to stop sinning because you have become a slave to sin. (John 8:34). Is this you? It’s time to get help through the ministry of deliverance. Sin opens the door for the enemy; nevertheless, God allows it.
You may not have seen consequences yet, but the next time you sin it could happen. If your love for God doesn’t keep you from sinning, I hope the fear of God will. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” (Proverbs 9:10). Do you want your sin, or do you want God? Lots of people say they want God, but don’t want to stop sinning (especially sexual sins, substance abuse, and the love of money and materials). You can’t have both—God is holy.
It will become much easier for you to stop sinning once you have surrendered yourself and your sin to the Lordship of Jesus… and turn away from it. Sadly, for many, the pain must become worse than the pleasure derived before they make a decision to repent.
It’s time for a change, Christian. Be wise! Take the road that leads to life. Learn from your mistakes. It’s one thing to step into the snare of the enemy. It’s quite another thing to know where the snare is set and get caught in it again. Kind of foolish, wouldn’t you say? My friend used to tell a story something like this:
You are walking down a road at night and fall into a deep sinkhole. You get pretty banged up, and it takes a while to get out of the hole but you do, and finally recover. Then you decide to walk down that road thinking you can avoid the hole, but you fall in again. You recover and decide to walk down the same road, convinced that you will be very careful and walk around the edge of the hole. You fall in again! This time it was very painful, and it took a long time to recover. Now, you decide to take your walk on a completely different road!
Don’t keep repeating the same foolish actions that lead to sin, going to the same places, hanging with the same people, browsing the internet, etc. Instead:
▪ Spend time with God
▪ Read His word
▪ Watch Christian videos
▪ Fellowship with other Christians
▪ Receive wise counsel and/or deliverance
▪ Do whatever is necessary to gain victory!
Your testimony is very powerful, please share it. Tell others where that hole in the road is. Don’t allow the enemy to silence you by reminding you of your past sins. Tell others the consequences you have suffered and warn them to turn away now, before they suffer similarly. Who can preach repentance and righteousness better than someone who has sinned and suffered the consequences?
Let’s say someone smoked cigarettes, got cancer and suffered greatly because of it. But, now, they are healed and are warning others of the serious consequences of smoking. Would you say they are a hypocrite because they used to smoke and they have no right to warn others? I hope not. The one who thinks like this usually has some secret sin they don’t want to let go of. It’s easier to deflect the guilt of sin by condemning the messenger.
The following are a list of sins that hinder Christians. I hope this will be helpful to you:
Sins of Omission
I often write about turning away from sin, to stop doing the things the Lord told us not to do. These are called sins of “commission.” But there are many things the Lord told us to do: love, give, be His witness, care for the poor and the widows, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. How are you doing with that? Not doing these things would be a sin of “omission.” For sure, no one can do all of these things, but the Lord will open opportunities for us to do some of them.
The Lord wants all of His sons and daughters to become mature, responsible followers of Jesus, fulfilling their God-given purpose. He has given each of us a measure of faith and various spiritual gifts and talents; He expects us to use them. Are you using your gifts and talents for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom? I hope so; there are serious consequences if you don’t.
“And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So, you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming, I would have received back my own with interest. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’.” (Matthew 25:25-27, 30).
In Israel, there are two bodies of water – the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Here is the difference: Streams and rivers flow into the Sea of Galilee and the water flows out by the Jordan River. The Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, but nothing flows out. Do you understand? The Lord pours into your life – His love, truth, provision, etc. Are you giving others what you have received? Is He flowing through you to others? If you are only receiving and not giving out, you will become stagnant, sluggish, and lifeless. I hope you get my point. You don’t want to become a “Dead Sea.”
You are responsible to use your spiritual gifts, talents, and natural abilities for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. I’m not talking about always striving to do something more. But most certainly, you are to give, go, and do as the Spirit leads, even when it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient. I hope you understand. I want to be clear; I’m not promoting a “works righteousness.” You are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by good works. (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, you keep your faith alive by obeying Jesus and manifesting your faith through good works. Here are a few verses that should motivate you to stop being selfish and begin to bless others. (Please note that they are addressing Jesus as Lord).
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; ‘I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’” (Matthew 25:41-46).
Offense and the Sin of Unforgiveness
I’ve been in ministry for over 40 years and have counseled many who had heart-wrenching stories. What happens to us can surely set the course for destruction. Nevertheless, if you want to be healed and set free, you have to stop blaming others – you must forgive them. (Matthew 6:14-15).
No matter what has happened to you, you are still responsible for your reaction to it – your angry words and actions, hatred, violence, criticism, bitterness, gossip, slander, etc. These are your sins. Any counselor who does not include forgiving others, and asking for forgiveness, as part of their counseling is not doing their job.
And when you counsel someone, never try to relieve their emotional pain by agreeing that their sinful words or actions were justified, or attempt to deflect the blame to someone else. Self-justification, blaming another, and unforgiveness will prevent healing. Only the truth will set them free. In most cases, repentance and forgiving others play a vital role in the healing process. Remember, the Word of God is the standard of truth, not the current cultural norm. Do not attempt to put a nice little bandage on a gaping wound. The wound must be cleansed first.
If you don’t forgive those who hurt you, God will not forgive you…Matthew 6:15.
Jesus tells us that in the last days “many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” (Matthew 24:10). Be careful, beloved. You must become an expert at forgiving those who offend you. If not, bitterness and hatred will consume you and poison your soul. You will even cause trouble and defile others (Hebrews 12:15). Unforgiveness is a VERY serious matter! This is perhaps secondary in importance only to the doctrine of Salvation. I hope you will heed this warning. If you do not forgive, God will not forgive you! (Matthew 6:15). And if your sins are not forgiven, how can you enter heaven? There is no option; all Christians must forgive.
The Downward Spiral
Some offenses are major: violence, rape or murder, or perhaps some great loss. Others are less grievous: being slighted, or embarrassed by another, unmet expectations. In serious cases of unforgiveness, there is usually a progressive downward spiral:
- You may toss / turn in bed thinking about it.
- You begin to experience self-pity, followed by critical and judgmental thoughts.
- Anger and frustration begin to increase tempting even mature Christians to gossip about the offender.
- Bitterness, resentment and even hatred can build, making you an ‘open door’ for demonic activity (the tormentors Jesus spoke of in Matthew 18: 23-35).
All of this has drawn you away from God and perhaps; your very soul is now at stake.
The Truth About Forgiveness
Perhaps the next statement will be a revelation: Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is an act of your will. After being hurt, you may become angry, upset, out of sorts. You could easily equate these feelings with your ability to forgive. Nevertheless, Forgiveness is an act of obedience to God. It is not dependent on how you feel. It is a decision that anyone can make, even if angry. Remember, this decision makes the difference between your sins being forgiven or not. “If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:15).
God speaks so strongly about unforgiveness because He knows the consequences. Every day He sees hearts fill with bitterness, hatred and revenge – destruction follows. God doesn’t want you to spend your life filled with internal strife. Some think that they will forget, in time, and be healed. But this isn’t true. Unforgiveness remains deep within and may cause emotional and/or physical illness. It has been proven that strong unresolved emotional feelings can cause a malfunction of the self-immune system, digestive problems, bowel problems, bone and joint problems, and even cancer.
You can make the right choice today. With God’s grace available to you at this moment, you can choose to forgive. Lord, I want to obey You. Please help me. By Your grace, I choose to forgive___________ and ___________ and…Please work deep within, causing me to forgive from my heart. Heal me completely. I ask this in the name of Jesus, the One Who has forgiven me. Amen!
The Steps to Freedom
It’s now time to walk through the entire process of forgiveness; ask for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and help you. This is very important: These steps should be followed whether the offender asks for your forgiveness or not.
In less serious cases, when possible, it is good to go to the one who hurt you with a humble posture and seek reconciliation. Some offenses can easily be resolved with a simple conversation, without involving others. Of course, humility by both parties would make it so much easier, but even if you alone humble yourself and seek reconciliation, God will be pleased.
When it is impossible or unwise to approach the offender, the following steps should be taken:
Make the choice to forgive. Get alone with God, ask for His help, and declare out loud, “I choose to forgive ____for doing or saying ____to me.” Do this with each name that comes to mind. (Perhaps you have already completed this step, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to do it again. There may be additional names revealed).
Ask God to forgive you for the critical and judgmental thoughts and words, and perhaps actions, that you had toward the one who hurt you. Gossip and criticism is never justified. Although God understands your woundedness, He cannot excuse your sin. But He will forgive you if you repent.
Release these people before God. In other words, don’t hold them in bondage as though they have a debt to pay you. Don’t say, “I’ll forgive them, but they owe me.” God forgives us completely. He expects us to do the same. “Lord, I completely release ___. They owe me nothing.”
Begin the process of forgetting the offense by asking God to remind you each time you indulge in thoughts about your wounding. When you realize that you are thinking about this again, invite the Lord into the middle of it and surrender these thoughts to Him. Remember don’t stuff the thoughts and feelings down. Lift them up to God. Ask Him to take these thoughts. It may require time but the more you do this, the less you will remember.
Pray for those who have offended you and do good to them. Yes, do good to them! Ask God to show you practical ways for you to bless them with good things, help, money, etc. This is one of the best tools to facilitate your healing and freedom. (Matthew 5:44).
Ask God to give you new eyes and a new heart toward this person. Do not freeze them in time. God is at work in their life too. Please remember; this is a process and it will take time. But the end result will be peace within and a deeper relationship with God.
Asking For Forgiveness
“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24).
What if YOU are the one who has done the wounding? You must humble yourself, go to the person you have offended, and say: “Please forgive me for hurting you.” It does not matter if you were right or wrong. If you were wrong, admit it. “I was wrong. Please forgive me.” If you don’t have the courage to speak with them face to face, at least write them a note.
You aren’t too proud to do this, are you? The Lord is not interested in receiving your offering until after you seek reconciliation. A very sobering thought: your songs, your prayers, and your money are unacceptable to God until you do this.
Some “offenders” say nothing and just go about their business thinking that time will heal. They think if they are nice to the person, or tell a joke, that it is the same as asking for forgiveness. Not so. This relieves the tension and permits the relationship to continue; nevertheless, the offense remains and will flare up again. Humble yourself, go to the person and say, “Please forgive me for hurting you.” This is well pleasing to our loving, forgiving God.
When the first missionaries arrived in Hawaii (1820) they found the people sexually promiscuous. The young women didn’t want the responsibility of caring for children so they would dig a hole, and as soon as the baby was born, they buried the baby alive. Does that disturb you? Tell me the difference between this and killing a fully formed baby in the womb. The difference: we kill our babies under sterile conditions.
If the mother wants the baby in her womb, she calls it a baby. If she wants to abort the baby, she calls it a fetus. Can’t you see the insanity in this – the willful self-deception? Abortion is the killing of a baby; abortion is murder! This has nothing to do with women’s rights; no one has the right to kill a baby. Every parent, doctor, nurse, and hospital who performs, participates, or permits an abortion, and every judge and lawmaker who endorses abortion (and those who voted for them) will be held accountable before God. If this is you, ask God for His forgiveness, and turn away from this egregious sin. God is merciful to those who truly repent. But if you do not repent and justify your actions, you should fear God who is the Creator and the Giver of life!
Do you understand the nature of addiction? At first, it satisfies some emotional or physical need, but then it’s not enough – you need more. When that doesn’t work, you need something different. It is the doorway to destruction. Whether the addiction is drugs or alcohol, money or materials, food, porn or fornication, you will eventually follow this pattern.
Over the past several years, addiction has been a major problem in America. Thank God for all who minister to addicts – many are being set free. Nevertheless, genuine freedom only comes through truth. (John 8:32). My point: We have been calling addiction a disease. By using a word like this we are implying, “It’s not your fault; you can’t help it.” Of course, that’s not true.
When I was a young man, I was addicted to drugs and alcohol – I know addiction very well. I chose, by my own will, to begin to do these things. It was MY fault. And the consequences (jails, hospitals, loss, depression, and suffering) were the results of MY sins. I have been free from these things for over 40 years because of the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit. God wants to do the same for you. Admit you are addicted, repent and get the necessary help.
There are so many who use alcohol or drugs to suppress their conscience, allowing them to do things they know they should not do, especially sexual sins. I was like that as a young man. My mom told me, after I finally repented and began serving the Lord, that she would pray for the drinking and drugs to turn against me – that I would no longer be able to escape, but I would feel worse when I used them.
This is exactly what happened. Yes, I could drink or use drugs until I was unconscious, but I became so miserable that it was better not to use them at all. I am writing this because someone needs to begin to pray like that for a loved one.
The following is a quote from the National Institutes of Health: “Several studies have linked marijuana use to increased risk for psychiatric disorders, including psychosis (schizophrenia), depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Recent research suggests that smoking high-potency marijuana every day could increase the chances of developing psychosis by nearly five times compared to people who have never used marijuana.”
A new Gallup poll states that 49% of American adults have tried marijuana, and 12% smoke it regularly. There are about 258 million adults in the US., meaning that roughly 30 million Americans are using marijuana regularly; that does not include the multitude of teens. No wonder there is an increase in mental illness, suicide, and violent crimes! I hope you aren’t smoking marijuana. You are endangering your mental health, crushing your spirit, and opening the door for demons.
It is insane to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Believe me, I smoked plenty of it as a young “hippie” in the 1960’s, and it messed me up. Marijuana can rob your ambition, causing you to become lazy and irresponsible, even while you think you’re being creative. It can damage your short-term memory and may inflame psychosis. Of course, it also impairs driving. When people are high on marijuana, they are far less likely to consider the truth of scripture and this adds another nail in the coffin of our decaying society.
Legislators, if you vote in favor of this you will be held accountable for the destruction it will cause. If you are addicted, please get help.
Are you habitually spending a lot of money to make yourself happy? Whether these items are expensive or not, be aware—this could be an addiction and idolatry. Many of God’s children are in debt because of excessive spending. Make no mistake, God will bless you with good things, but too often, we choose to “bless” ourselves and indulge the lust of the flesh. How much do you give to the poor, or to advance the Kingdom of God? Are you being a good steward of what the Lord has given you? Don’t continue to add to your credit debt, thinking that God wants to bless you. We live in a very self-indulgent society; be careful.
Do you realize that Jesus taught us to deny ourselves? (Matthew 16:24). This doesn’t mean you can’t have some nice things, but it does mean you must hold them loosely and be willing to surrender them all. They must never become idols. I hope you understand. If you love the things of this world, you can never fully love God. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21). As I already mentioned, do your best to get out of debt. These are perilous times and our economic future is very insecure. Build on the Rock this way “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).
Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor (Mark 10:21). I admit this would be a difficult test for anyone, but anything we love more than the Lord has become an idol. Could you give away your favorite thing if you were sure the Lord told you to? Don’t allow your love for the things of this world to hinder your spiritual growth and prevent you from becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, if you have been blessed with money and material goods, praise God! I hope you are being a good steward and a cheerful giver.
When you are completely surrendered to the Lord and are completely abandoned to His purpose for your life, it doesn’t matter if you live in a big house or a trailer, the inner city or the suburbs, if you have nice clothes, or not. You will trust God and be content. (Philippians 4:11-12). You are willing to go or stay, and you do whatever He asks of you. With this heart attitude, in the midst of adversity and lack, you will praise and thank the Lord. You know He will work it for your good (Romans 8:28) – this is your goal.
There was a season when I became disappointed with God, with others, and with myself. You can become quite vulnerable at a time like this. You seek to comfort yourself, and the lusts of the flesh become more appealing. Boredom and fatigue can also make you vulnerable. Be careful! At this point, I began to eat too much, especially indulging in sugar. I gained over 50 pounds! The additional weight gave me high blood pressure and other physical problems. All of this hindered my ministry. Nevertheless, I repented, and by God’s grace, with diet and exercise, I lost all of the weight and no longer have those problems. Thank you, Lord!
I certainly don’t want to make you feel guilty for being overweight, but so many of God’s children are. (Believe me; I’m not a health nut.) Many of your health problems could be solved, or at least made better if you would lose weight. The devil may tempt you, but all of this is not his fault. We can make so many excuses. When I was indulging myself, I used to think, “Well, it’s better than taking drugs.” Sugar can be very addictive.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently stated that within 10 years, ½ of the US population will be obese, and ¼ will be 100 pounds overweight! This is very serious, but it doesn’t have to be you. If food is your idol you must repent. God wants to help you, but it will require your effort. Get some help, beloved.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore, he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8). I hope you can see; Christians who reject this warning are rejecting God!
In the New Testament the Greek word porneia is used to describe sexual immorality and it is the base word for pornography. Porneia is also translated as “fornication” and “idolatry” and is primarily used for premarital sex. Sexual immorality involves any type of sexual expression (including sexual perversion) outside the boundaries of a biblically defined marriage.
Porn is making the Church weak and contaminating her soul. Much of the Church is powerless and void of God’s presence. Reputable polls reveal that almost 70% of the men and women who profess to be Christian view pornography. This includes 50% of the Church leadership!
With so many church members feeling guilty about porn, they want to completely avoid topics like holiness and the consequences of sin. Church leaders are afraid to talk about it because many of them are using porn themselves. How can they preach repentance without feeling hypocritical? This is one of the main reasons why there are so many grace messages being given.
The Lord has begun to shake everything that can be shaken, and many Christians have already suffered serious consequences for using porn. It is a serious sin, and it is crippling the Church. If you continue to do this, you may forfeit your divine purpose here on earth and could lose your salvation. I am not preaching from a pulpit of self-righteousness. When I was younger, I committed plenty of sexual sins, including porn, but I turned away from these sins, and with the help of God, did what was necessary to stay away from them. God has given me the victory. He will do the same for you.
Lori and I were recently discussing the sharp rise in child sexual abuse and sex trafficking. A lot of this started with an addiction to pornography, which led to further perversion. There are millions of sex addicts in America. You are sadly mistaken if you think porn is harmless. You are corrupting yourself: body, soul, and spirit, and opening the door for demons. Many people think that using porn is no big deal. They say, “It doesn’t hurt anyone.” Porn can ruin your life. Here are a few facts:
▪ Those images could remain in your memory for the rest of your life. Even after repentance, they will reappear when trying to pray or worship.
▪ This will hinder your intimacy with God.
▪ It could also hinder your sexual relationship with your spouse.
▪ Some have had same-sex attraction aroused after viewing pornography.
The Bible instructs us to “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18). The Apostle Paul, speaking to the Corinthian church, mentions one of their members who was living in sexual sin. Paul commands the Church to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5).
Do you understand that God loves you enough to allow the devil to crush you, if that’s what it takes to bring you to true repentance? Allowing the devil to “sift you like wheat” is love and grace. The alternative is hell. You must deny yourself, your flesh, if you want to live in Christ and be led by His Spirit. Paul tells us, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16).
And remember this isn’t only about the obvious porn. You shouldn’t be looking at anyone immodestly dressed in movies, ads, TV shows and commercials, or on the street. (Job 31:1). Don’t kid yourself by thinking, “This is okay; it’s not porn.” Someone doesn’t need to be completely undressed for you to look at them lustfully. Be careful!
You must also stop reading sensual books and articles. If you truly repent of your sin others may never know what you have done. But if you continue in sin the Lord may find it necessary to expose this to the light. You could be publicly shamed and humiliated. Please heed this warning from God.
Looking at someone in lust (porn) is the same as committing adultery. This can keep you out of heaven. Matthew 5:28-30.
Perhaps you’ve also been deceiving yourself so you can continue to look at erotic paintings and sculptures. You hope to justify yourself by calling it “art.” Are you also looking at bathing suit and underwear commercials? Jesus is warning you. “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery (fornication) with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28).
Paul tells young Timothy to flee from youthful lusts. (2 Timothy 2:22). What does this mean? “Flee” (pheugo) means to seek safety, to escape from danger. “Lust” (epithymia) means craving or desire for what is forbidden. A youthful lust could be a desire for money and materials, fame and power, but is most commonly referring to sexual lust. You must not allow impure thoughts to linger in your mind. As soon as you realize that you are fanaticizing over these things, you should call on the Lord, begin to praise Him, and do whatever is necessary to distract yourself from these impure thoughts. If the temptation is coming from another person, you must flee, removing yourself from danger.
Are you being attracted to someone at work, church, online, etc.? If you’re married, be careful. You can deceive yourself, thinking this is only a friendship, but let’s be truthful; this attraction is something more, perhaps filling an emotional need. This “friendship” could lead to disaster and you should end it now. Don’t say, “I would never let it go that far.”
Please believe me, many fools have said the same thing before they fell off the cliff. This is a warning from the Lord. “… God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Escape now!
Younger brothers and sisters in Christ, please develop a passion for purity with a genuine desire to please the Lord. Be determined, with the help of God, that you will not give in to sexual sin. It will hinder your spiritual growth, spoil your Christian witness, stall the fulfillment of your destiny, and will eventually separate you from God. “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22).
Perhaps you have said, “I go to work and try to take care of my family; I’m a good person. What does it matter if I look at porn once in a while? It’s not hurting anyone.” The Lord wants you to know that it does matter to Him; this is a serious sin. You are ruining your spiritual life and could ruin your marriage. You must do whatever is necessary to stop this now or there will be serious consequences. Because of porn, marriages are destroyed and some are beginning to have same-sex attractions. How can you learn to walk in the Spirit if you continue to indulge your flesh?
There is a married couple who is looking at porn together and you have convinced yourselves that it’s okay because you are viewing it together. God wants you to know it is not okay. Viewing pornography, even by mutual consent, is the same as committing adultery. The Word of God clearly says that practicing adultery will keep you out of heaven. (Galatians 5:19-21).
There are two women mentioned in the New Testament that Jesus addressed regarding adultery. To the first He said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11). To the second, “… I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed, I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death…” (Revelation 2:21-23). We hear plenty of messages about the first woman, why not the second?
Men and women, there are very serious consequences if you continue in sexual sin. You may think I’m being extreme, and don’t want to believe me. This is no small matter to a wife. Pornography IS adultery, a betrayal, a deep wounding, and will break her heart. Some women will recover, others will never trust you again. Some will file for divorce. Don’t be so foolish as to think she will never know. Husbands will also be wounded if they find their wives looking at other men or women. God will give you time to repent, and then He will expose your sin. You have now been warned. Do you want to take the chance? Will you obey God, or not?
It’s time to decide, and then do whatever it takes to get this right. If you don’t, it will get worse, much worse. With His help and by His Spirit, confess your sin to another, seek godly counsel, become accountable, cut your internet, get in a support group, and receive deliverance. You can’t continue to lie to yourself and make excuses. Another message about God’s grace will only prolong the misery. Pornography is an addiction, and it should be treated like one. Would you tell a drug addict about God’s love and not help them get free? Take action now; this will not go away by itself. Drug addicts often die, and porn addicts die spiritually.
You can’t have Jesus AND porn. It’s time to make a choice!
In a disturbing video produced by the AOC Network, the social media platform, Tik-Tok, was exposed. I wasn’t surprised to hear that they are banning a lot of Christian content and using algorithms to greatly minimize the exposure of Christian sites. Some were getting hundreds of thousands of views, and now they only get a few hundred. Of course, this is bad, but there is something much worse.
Kids and teens are being exposed to a lot of sexual content produced by other teens. In addition, porn stars are using this platform to promote their websites. With just a click of the button on the Tik-Tok app, kids can view these porn sites, and you can be sure that millions of them are. Tik-Tok is growing very fast, and it’s very popular with younger kids and teens. I think you can see why. Millions are having their minds corrupted and becoming addicted to pornography! I hope you will closely monitor what your children are watching online and have them delete the Tik-Tok app immediately.
Pastors and leaders, I encourage you to start a pornography recovery group in your church. You must call this “sin” and call the people to repentance. This must be addressed now if you want your congregation to hear God clearly and move forward to accomplish His purpose. If you continue to ignore this issue the spiritual life of your congregation will continue to decline. I hope you understand the serious consequences. Call your church to repentance, and offer help to those who are held captive: counseling, support groups, deliverance.
In regard to the Christian’s view of homosexuality: We are to love homosexuals and everyone else. It’s not about hating anyone. Our objection is based on the truth of God’s word. We firmly believe that the Bible is the Word of God – written by men but inspired by God Himself. The Old and New Testaments clearly say homosexuality is sin, an abomination. Adultery and heterosexual sex before marriage are also sins. Those who practice these things will not go to heaven.
I hope you agree that the Creator of the universe has the sovereign right to make the rules and declare what is right and wrong. This is not about hatred in any way; it’s all about obeying God. Those who refuse to obey God, regardless of what their sins are, will not go to heaven.
If I were to tell someone that smoking cigarettes is harmful, would that mean I hated them? Or if I told someone they shouldn’t drive after drinking alcohol, would that mean I hated them? Of course not! These warnings come from concern, not hatred. It is completely illogical to call Christians who hold a biblical view of marriage “haters.”
I know lots of Christians all over the world, and I can honestly say I don’t know anyone who hates someone because they are homosexual. They may strongly disagree with that lifestyle, but there is no hatred.
Nevertheless, genuine Christians earnestly believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Through His Word, our lives have been saved, healed, encouraged and corrected. The Bible clearly teaches that those who continue to practice sexual sins (not only homosexuality) will not go to heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). This warning is given with concern for the homosexual—for their soul. Those who practice sexual perversion may hate us for telling them this, but we definitely don’t hate them.
How could one think that homosexuality is OK? Do you think that times have changed and the Scriptures (Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Jude 5-7) are irrelevant because they were written 2,000 years ago? Don’t you remember that our eternal God is timeless? 1,000 years is as a day to the Lord (2 Peter 3:8). From His perspective, this was written just a few days ago, and He doesn’t change. This is not about the whims of cultural morality; it’s all about what God says is immoral. I hope you will agree with Him. If not, then you should fear Him. He definitely means what He says.
You must believe and obey the Word of God. His word cannot be altered to accommodate cultural standards, “…the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:25). We will be judged according to the Word of God. Jesus said, “… the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:48-49).
Until 8 years ago, the American Psychiatric Association considered someone who thought they were the opposite sex to be mentally ill. It is biologically obvious, that for whatever reason, they are pretending to be something they are not. Nevertheless, our society has become so deluded and deceived that it is now a crime not to agree with this lie. How could this be? Perhaps God has given us over to a strong delusion. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
There is no doubt that God loves all people. He desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). In this hour, many former transgenders are testifying that they made a huge mistake by having surgery to change their bodies. Nonetheless, they now have salvation, healing, and peace in Jesus Christ. Many former homosexuals are now married and living peaceful and fruitful lives because they surrendered their life to Christ. If you repent of your sins and give your life to Jesus, He will do the same for you. You can change!
Love is not only accepting people as they are. Genuine love will tell the truth and then help them to obey God – help them to change. Sadly, those who are proud refuse to change. Pride is one of the greatest sins. I think you know it caused Lucifer’s downfall. (Ezekiel 28:17). The consequences can be devastating for us, too. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6). The Greek for “resist” is “antitassó,” meaning “to range in battle against, to oppose.” You certainly don’t want God to oppose you; it gets even worse: “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:5). Everyone has the “right” to love, but it must be done according to the ways of God.
Please understand there is a big difference between those who have a same-sex attraction, but remain celibate, and those who practice homosexuality. I have a friend who was molested as a child by his uncle. This first introduction to sexual pleasure caused him to form a same-sex attraction; this was not his fault. He later became a practicing homosexual (that was his choice). Later, he came to Christ, repented of his sins, and has remained celibate, even though he is occasionally tempted by same-sex attractions. The Church needs to love and support those with same-sex attraction who want to obey God and walk in holiness.
In recent years, prominent church leaders, when asked by reporters if homosexuality is sinful, gave a very vague reply, or said, “Who am I to judge?” Perhaps they thought they were being loving, but this is a gross error. As a result, many are now continuing in their sin, thinking it is okay. Our loving God made a way for all of us to be forgiven. He gave His only son, Jesus, to suffer and die for our sins. He has also given His Holy Spirit to help us walk in a way that pleases Him. However, you must admit that you have sinned. If you refuse to believe it is sin, you will not be forgiven.
Dear Christian leader, the strategy of appeasement regarding sexual perversion is not working. Remaining silent is the wrong policy. Of course, we are to love everyone and welcome them into our churches. Their sexual sin is not greater than others in the pews who look at porn and fornicate. Sin is sin, and it must be seen that way. If sin is never mentioned, it will surely come back on you, and your youth will begin to think perversion is okay.
This is how I answer those who ask if homosexuality is sinful: “Over the years I have committed many sexual sins, but by the grace of God, I acknowledged my sins and repented of them. Jesus has forgiven me and delivered me from these things. He will do the same for you. To answer your question: Yes, the Bible clearly states that practicing homosexuality is a serious sin, and it could keep you from going to heaven. We all need to turn from our sins and obediently follow Jesus.”
“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.’” (Ezekiel 3:18).
Please don’t say this is Old Testament theology – Apostle Paul didn’t think so. “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:26-27). We must speak the truth in love.
It’s dangerous to be successful; be careful. It doesn’t take long before pride begins to grow. Anything you have done that is of any value has been God’s Holy Spirit working through you. He deserves ALL of the glory. Of course, there is nothing wrong with feeling good about what the Lord has used you to do—rejoice and be glad! But always remember to give Him the glory. Far too many servants of God have started strong but are now ineffective because they allowed pride to grow up unchecked. You must be diligent to humble yourself and remain small in your own eyes. Remember, God resists the proud. (1 Peter 5:5). Pride is a stench in His nostrils.
Here is a short “pride” test: Can you admit your faults? How long does it take for you to apologize?
Are you teachable? How do you respond when you are corrected? Are you easily offended? Check your heart. The root cause is usually pride. If you exalt yourself, you can be sure you will be humbled. (Luke 14:11).
There have been many setbacks in ministries, and individual lives because of pride. Genuine humility requires taking up your cross daily. Luke 9:23 speaks of dying to self, humbling yourself, servanthood, etc. Nothing there allows you to promote yourself or demand your rights. God resists and opposes the proud. (James 4:6).
Humility isn’t something you can just decide to have. Of course, you should desire it, and ask God to help you humble yourself, but it usually requires being broken and refined by the Lord. Some of you are there right now. In the process of refinement, pride and self-reliance are purged; this could take a while. Afterward, you won’t try to be humble, you simply will be. One caution though, if you think you have arrived, be careful. A few accolades, a little success, and pride begins to grow back like weeds in a garden. Humble yourself, and enter a new level of fruitfulness, fulfillment, and peace. Never forget that promotion comes from the Lord. (Psalm 75:6-7).
There is a tremendous amount of pride in the Church. In a generation that demands their rights and feels entitled, it is difficult to teach biblical truth. First, you have to be willing to be taught. Then, you must be willing to be corrected. “No one is going to tell me what to do!”
The rebellious usually have a hard life, even finding it difficult to keep a job. Sadly, many will end up in trouble with the law. Some have learned to comply with the rules of society, but they sure do grumble and complain a lot. My point: When we become Christian many of us carry a lot of baggage. We are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), but it takes time to fully surrender and transform our old nature.
Consider a wild horse that is strong and willful; it goes where it wants to go and does what it wants to do. Until this horse is broken, it is of little use; it can’t be ridden or used to pull a cart. I hope you understand. Allow God to break you. Allow Him to refine, mold, and shape you. When you became a Christian, didn’t you give Him your life? Humble yourself and be teachable. Cooperate as He completes His work in you.
The Lord of the harvest is recruiting those who have been in the crucible-those who have been divorced, those who have been in trouble or jail. The ones who have been rejected or disqualified in the past are being given another opportunity. He is also speaking to those who thought they would never minister again. His gifts and callings are not revoked. Having been humbled and broken you can now be more fruitful. Are you willing to submit to the Lordship of Christ? Will you truly be His disciple? The Lord is saying, “I don’t care about yesterday. If you have truly repented, My blood is sufficient. I care about what you will do today and tomorrow.”
“…whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.” Matthew 20:26.
I love to see miracles, but greatness isn’t measured by the number of miracles you perform; it is measured by the quality of your humble servanthood. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11). So, what was John like? He humbled himself (wearing camel’s hair), was separated from the world (holy), and he dared to speak what the Holy Spirit was telling him to say even to the point of imprisonment and death.
So, what does greatness look like? Humility, servanthood, holiness, and obedience to God at all cost. Of course, none of this is possible without love. Greatness is certainly not about money, materials, power, etc. If you are just beginning to serve the Lord, or aspire to, here are a few important points to consider: humility, humility, humility!
- Faithfully serve someone else’s ministry, then God will give you your own. “And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own” (Luke 16:12)?
- Be faithful in the seemingly small and mundane things. “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities’” (Luke 19:17).
- Learn to follow.
- Submit to those over you and then God will give you true authority.
- Humble yourself and serve.
- Allow the Lord to correct and break you.
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much…” (Luke 16:10).
Too many who aspire to the ministry try to make their own way, promoting themselves, handing out business cards, and making sure everyone knows how much they have to offer; these are the ways of the world. Humble yourself. Spend time with the Lord; learn to hear His voice, and obey Him. Keep saying, “yes” when He asks you to do something, whether big or small. Wait for the Lord’s perfect timing and trust Him.
Peter needed to be sifted like wheat (Luke 22:31) before he was ready for Church leadership. You have been through a lot to get to this point. God has been so faithful to you. Allow Him to complete the sifting process, removing your hidden impurities. Allow Him to humble you.
Cowardice and Lying
Many Christians are fearful, but they overcome those fears every day. They do not allow fear to rule their life or prevent them from moving forward. This is called courage. Never let fear determine your actions, beloved; that is being cowardly. Do you know that cowardice is a serious sin? It is listed with murderer and sexually immorality! “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8).
Be of good courage, Christian. God wants you to have faith, to trust Him and overcome your fears. You will need faith and courage in the days ahead… a time of trouble and persecution. “… Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9).
Trust in the Lord, beloved; He IS with you! And remember, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)!
Do you understand how important it is to tell the truth? Lying is no small sin. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he mentions liars in the same sentence with murderers, fornicators, sodomites, kidnappers and perjurers. (1 Timothy 1:9-10). And I think you are aware of Ananias and Sapphira. (Acts 5). They lied, and you know what happened to them. Don’t brush this off and say everyone does it. Liars are listed with the cowardly in Revelation 21:8 and they end up in the Lake of Fire! Ask God to help you walk in the truth.
Warning to Christians
This is a warning to Christians. Those who continue to practice sexual sins like fornication, adultery (viewing pornography), homosexuality, those who practice the idolatry of lusting after money and materials, or have uncontrolled anger, or get drunk or high on drugs, those who lie, hate, or steal from others or use psychics or practice witchcraft, etc. You WILL NOT go to heaven unless you repent, doing whatever is necessary to stop sinning (Matthew 5:29-30). This is the word of the Lord! The following epistles, and others like them, are written to Christians, warning Christians. Please heed these warning!
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21).
“… Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality, and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7).
By continuing in any sin, many have forfeited good opportunities, suffered personal or financial loss, had doors closed, been put on the shelf, and have stunted their spiritual growth. If you continue to indulge the flesh, your spiritual ears will grow dull, and your heart will become hardened.
The Apostle John tells us that some sins lead to death, and there are some that don’t. (1 John 5:16-17). You just read the list of sins that lead to spiritual death in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21. Also see Revelation 21:8. Those who practice these things won’t inherit the kingdom of God. John wrote about sin “leading” to death. This implies that spiritual death is a process, a hardening of the heart and reprobate mind that comes from continuing in sin. Don’t allow this to happen to you.
Jesus is Warning the Churches
I think you are aware that Jesus, several years after ascending into heaven, spoke with John on the Isle of Patmos. (I mentioned this before.) He told John to write letters to the 7 churches in Asia Minor. Jesus offered some commendations to each church but gave very severe warnings to five of the churches. The current Church needs to review these warnings. We must stop avoiding them. They are most certainly pertinent – individually and corporately.
Jesus warned the church at Ephesus– they had left their first love. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand (church – read Revelation 1:20) from its place – unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5). Jesus threatened to shut down their church!
Jesus warned the church of Pergamos about those who held false doctrines that seduced the people into idolatry and sexual immorality. “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” (Revelation 2:16). He would come and purge the church with His word of judgment.
What He said to the church of Thyatira is perhaps the most frightening. There was a church member, a so-called prophetess, who taught and seduced the Lord’s servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things offered to idols (Revelation 2:20). Jesus said He gave her time to repent but now threatened to make her sick, bring great tribulation to those who were committing adultery with her, and to kill her children. (Revelation 2:21-23). I hope you are paying attention.
Jesus told the church in Sardis that they had a reputation for being alive, but they were dead. “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” (Revelation 3:2-3). Sadly, this could apply to many, if not most, of the churches in America. Jesus commended some in that church and told them, “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life…” (Revelation 3:5). I hope you understand the implication here—a Christian’s name can be blotted out of the Book of Life if they do not overcome!
Jesus said to the church in Laodicea, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot… So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16). Again, this applies to most American churches. Jesus went on to say, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:19-20).
We have often preached “I stand at the door and knock” as an evangelistic message. Sorry, that is out of context. Jesus is speaking to Christians. He is speaking to His Church! Pray that we will invite the real Jesus back into His Church and discard the “progressive” theology, hyper-grace, and other false doctrines that tickle our ears (2 Timothy 4:3-4) and keep us comfortable. These teachings are simply wrong, unscriptural, and very dangerous. There is no doubt that each of these severe warnings were written to Christians.