Christians in an Immoral Culture

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12  (KJB)

Many of the Christians in Corinth seems to have been indifferent to the culture in which they lived.  Sexual immorality was rampant in the city, and Christians were participating in the sin as well becoming more and more bound by their sinful actions; and thinking nothing of it.

It does the Christian of 2019 and every age to read the words of Paul in this chapter concerning these matters.

As Christians we are to live a life that honors, edifies, and glorifies the Holy and Righteous God who has purchased us through the blood of Jesus His Son.  That is done through the Holy Spirit and the word of God; applying His teachings and commandments to our lives.  We are not part of the evil world culture.

To yield to the temptation of the world is to be brought under the power of sin.  There is gross sexual immorality in the Christian community.  Eagerly participating in sexual intercourse before marriage; some after marriage who have no problem with sleeping with as many women or men as they can find.  God is not pleased with this. He is not honored, He is not glorified; and neither is the Christian living such a licentious life a faithful witness for the Holiness of God.

Let me  leave you this morning with the commentary of the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary:

“1Co_6:12-20. Refutation of the antinomian defense of fornication as if it was lawful because meats are so.
All things are lawful unto me — These, which were Paul’s own words on a former occasion (to the Corinthians, compare 1Co_10:23, and Gal_5:23), were made a pretext for excusing the eating of meats offered to idols, and so of what was generally connected with idolatry (Act_15:29), “fornication” (perhaps in the letter of the Corinthians to Paul, 1Co_7:1). Paul’s remark had referred only to things indifferent: but they wished to treat fornication as such, on the ground that the existence of bodily appetites proved the lawfulness of their gratification.
me — Paul giving himself as a sample of Christians in general.
but I — whatever others do, I will not, etc.
lawful … brought under the power — The Greek words are from the same root, whence there is a play on the words: All things are in my power, but I will not be brought under the power of any of them (the “all things”). He who commits “fornication,” steps aside from his own legitimate power or liberty, and is “brought under the power” of an harlot (1Co_6:15; compare 1Co_7:4). The “power” ought to be in the hands of the believer, not in the things which he uses [Bengel]; else his liberty is forfeited; he ceases to be his own master (Joh_8:34-36; Gal_5:13; 1Pe_2:16; 2Pe_2:19). Unlawful things ruin thousands; “lawful” things (unlawfully used), ten thousands.” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Be sure to read the whole chapter six. Let those of us who name the name of Christ Jesus live the name as well.

Purposes for Staying Put

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
As I begged you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith.
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.  But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief; but for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
This charge I commit unto you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on you, that you by them might war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”  1 Timothy 1:1-20

REFERENCES: Acts 3:17; 9:15; 13:39, 45; 16:1; 20:1; Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:2; Galatians 1:6; 3:13; 5:14; Romans 13:8; 1 Corinthians 9:17; 7:25; Luke 23:34; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Daniel 7:14; 2 Timothy 2:2

God’s Eyes Upon The Truth

In a time of seeming prosperity they are attacked by a vicious force. A force that is meant to bring them down to their knees. They have spent many years without an attack. They have been at peace. Prosperity seems incapable of ceasing. They have clouded their thinking with the thoughts of bigger and better buildings; bigger and better government; bigger and better banks, churches, and organizations.

They have forgotten from where the blessings have come; even from Whom they have come; and when they begin losing that prosperity the question is, what went wrong, and then the blame game begins. Whose fault is it that their lingers outside our walls a threatening enemy? Whose fault is it that the gates must be kept shut longer, and opened for shorter periods of time?

One thing that we must remember as Christians in the last two months of 2008 is that God is still on His throne. He is still sovereign, and reigns in the affairs of men.

What does this have to do with Jeremiah the prophet? It fits with his time just as well as our own.

I will include the first two verses of chapter five which I have already written commentary on:

“Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it. And though they say, The LORD liveth; surely they swear falsely. O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.” Jeremiah 5:1-3 (KJV)

There were some in Jerusalem who sought the truth, but they were evidently few and far between, and who were not real concerned with the current spiritual climate. As verse two proclaims there were people who were saying, “The LORD lives”, but they were speaking falsely because of ulterior motives. Perhaps worship on the Sabbath, and worship of pagan gods such as Baal, Ashtoreth, Molech were some possibilties. To put them in the modern scene would be the ideal of pluralistic worship, immoral living while being “spiritual”, and the great “conveniences” of life.

Verse three begins with “O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth?” I believe Jeremiah knew the answer to that question. The LORD has asked for someone to “Run… through the streets of Jerusalem…”, and He has called and chosen Jeremiah, but is there no one else?

A hard stiffnecked people who have grown comfortable, conformed, contented, and confused without the knowledge of their sinfulness will not see the correcting hand of God. They will just flat out reject any correction from those who will try and correct them, then when the LORD strikes them they will not grieve; when He consumes them they will not receive correction; they become hard headed, more stiff necked, and refuse to return to God.

O, that the Christian of today would learn from Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.

-Tim A. Blankenship

As The LORD Lives…

The previous verse one we see that the call goes out to “Run…through the streets of Jerusalem…”, to seek for anyone who “executes judgment, who seeks the truth”, and if there is anyone then “I will pardon her”, God says. This takes us to the second verse:

“Though they say, ‘As the LORD lives,’ surely they swear falsely” Jeremiah 5:2 (NKJV).

The phrase “As the LORD lives” is one which the prophets often used to proclaim divine oracles, or by people swearing oaths. This was a city and a land which made great promises to God, and refused to believe that God would judge a nation, a city as Jerusalem, or its temple which was the “abiding place of God” for the people. The priests and people of Judah seemed not to view the LORD in any greater capacity than they did the gods the surrounding nations worshipped.

Due to this unbelief; this pluralistic thought; God holds them in contempt of the Laws of His name. The arrogance of the hearts of men and women of that day against the LORD was very similar to many of today.

To think that we could go to church or worship in any place and appease God for all our sin is at the height of arrogance, when we know that God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins on the cross. To think that being baptized could appease the wrath of God against sin comes from the pride of a rebellious heart. To believe that to break the bread or drink the Lord’s cup would appease the judgment of God for sin is against the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. These things are for the genuine believer, and can never put away our sins; can never atone for sin.

The LORD lives; there is no doubt about that. Since we believe that, genuinely, then we must genuinely believe Him and follow Him and believe and practice the principles, testimonies, ordinances, laws, judgments, words, statutes, commandments of His Word. Just attaching His name on the end of prayer does not mean that it is prayed in His name; and just because you may attach His name to a sermon, or speech, does not mean that sermon or speech is of God or from His Word.

These people of Jeremiah’s day would speak in the name of the LORD, then lived their lives after the fashion of the surrounding nations. They were still worshipping God on the Sabbath, per se, and the rest of the week they worshipped the gods of the nations, either by practice or by neglecting the LORD.

We don’t do that: do we? It happens far, far too many times. Be sure when you use the LORD’s name it is in reverence, and in worship of Him whose name is reverend and holy –

“He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” Psalms 111:9 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Rebellions Consequences

The prophet hears and knows that judgment is coming. His heart is for his people, for God’s people. One of the sad things about God’s judgment that many find unjust is that the “innocent” suffer the consequences along with the “guilty”. Think of the flood of Noah’s day; there were babies who had never sinned, though they were born sinners, like all of us; yet these died in the flood. Another point is the faith of Caleb and Joshua when they had viewed the Promised Land their faith said, “God is able. Let’s take the land”. The unbelieving said, “There are giants in the land” and the majority ruled. Then Caleb and Joshua suffered the punishment along with the unbelieving. They too wandered in the wilderness for forty years.
One of the things you and I can learn from that is; our sins do not just hurt us, they affect others too.
Jeremiah writes:
O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you? For a voice declares from Dan and proclaims affliction from Mount Ephraim: ‘Make mention to the nations, Yes, proclaim against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country and raise their voice against the cities of Judah. Like keepers of a field they are against her all around. Because she has been rebellious against Me,’ says the LORD. ‘Your ways and your doings have procured these things for you. This is your wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reaches your heart.’ Jeremiah 4:15-18 (NKJV)

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21), and it was obvious to the prophet Jeremiah, that the heart of the people of the Southern kingdom of Judah was in the same condition as that of the Northern kingdom when the armies of king Nebuchadnezzar came swooping down with the speed of the leopard upon them, carrying them away captive. This is what the prophet saw happening to Judah as well.

We must know that a divided heart is a sinful, rebellious, self-absorbed, godless heart. The lips which proclaim a faith in God while giving allegiance to things; material gain, family, government dependence, self dependence, etc.; is a full hypocrite, pretentious, and gives no allegiance to God, who alone deserves our undivided faith, and allegiance. There will be occasions when the genuine believer will doubt, fear, and not believe; however they do not dwell there for long. The heart of the genuine believer will come back to the place of faith, return to the Lord and glorify His name, glory and grace.

The voice coming from Dan and from Ephraim are the events which has happened to them concerning their judgment. They have been conquered because their evil hearts. Jerusalem and all of Judah cannot continue to live in sin and rebellion against God, thinking we have the temple, it is God’s temple, He won’t allow anything happen to His temple. Such arrogance and pride is doomed to fall. Thinking; “I am a child of God, therefore God will not cause the judgment that falls on the immoral unbeliever, to fall on me” is a dreadfully deceptive notion.

Hear the voices that come from others. The Christians who are imprisoned because of their crimes against another, they are paying for their sins. Christians who have disease because of a sinful lifestyle they once lived; which could have been prior to or following salvation. There are consequences to sin; for the Christian and the non-Christian.

Because of rebellion and a continued refusal to repent these judgments are coming on the children of God. The wickedness of the heart is known by the All-Knowing God. He will not hold guiltless those who are guilty. The sin of the guilty will also fall on the guiltless and the innocent.

Why is it that there are some people who think, “Well, it is my sin, my action, I will take responsibility for it,” by going ahead and doing it, and say, “It won’t hurt anyone but me”. My how deceived we can become when we get into sinful living. Our sins affect everyone around us. Even the “innocent” pay for our sins.

The sin of the heart is a bitter thing. The heart is where we gain the capacity of love, mercy and grace. It is the place we hold those things and people who are dear to us. The heart given to God holds Him dearest, closest, and trust solely in Him for life, living and eternity. The heart given to God loves all that is godly and good. Loves all there is to know about God, His Son Jesus Christ. If you do not know His Son and love Him; you do not know God and/or love Him (John 5:22-23; 8:42).

How is your heart today? Is there any pretention or hypocrisy which is directing your heart away from God? Is there desire in your heart turning you away from God, redirecting the main focus to something, someone other than God and His Son? Jesus also said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). When your heart is full of evil thoughts, and imaginations it will be speaking and doing and thinking those evil deeds. When your heart is full of God will you not be speaking the things of God? Most certainly.

Fill your heart with God, and God will come out in your speech and your life. Even when you end up in the judgment of God due to the sins of others, you will still grow in faith, love and knowledge and wisdom.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Heart of Pretense

“Pretense” – a claim, not supported by fact; mere display or show. A false show. So is the meaning of the word. It would not be a pleasant or comfortable thing to be charged with. However, as we look into the book of Jeremiah we see that the nation of Judah, the Southern part of the divided kingdom since Rehoboam, is charged with this exact thing. “Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:10).

The Northern kingdom has been charged with adultery against God. God has called for their repentance (3:7), to return to the LORD. They had prostituted themselves against their faithful Husband and God, and become a immoral nation.

“…Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:8-10 (NKJV).

This was a prophecy given during the reign of Josiah (3:6), who was considered a godly king. Josiah became king at the age of eight years (Read 1 Chronicles 34 – 35). You will read of Josiah that he purged the land of Judah of the “high places”, of “carved images”, and of “molded images”, and that “He did what was right in the sight of the LORD…” However, it appears that much of what was done during Josiah’s reign was done with pretense. It does not seem to have been pretense on the kings part, but on the peoples hearts. Legislation, whether done by a monarch or a president cannot change the hearts of people. The hearts of the people of Judah were moved by Josiah, but not by God. Therefore, there was much pretense in the land of Judah.

Pretense or hypocrisy cannot be hid from the omniscient eye of the LORD. It is said quite often in Scriptures that “God looks on the heart”, and that seems to be something that all people tend to forget. Pretense and hypocrisy never fools, or deceives the Lord Almighty. It didn’t work in Judah or Israel, and it will not work in today’s world either.

If you will notice God even calls this act by Judah “treacherous”. Three times in verses seven through ten God calls Judah the “treacherous sister” of Israel. The word “Treacherous” is defined as ‘Characterized by treachery; untrustworthy, unreliable’ and “Treachery” is defined as ‘a violation of allegiance or trust’. According to Strong’s Concordance it is to deal deceitfully; and certainly the heart’s of the people of Judah were endeavoring to deal deceitfully with God.

At a time when our own nation is at war, and the hearts of people are growing more and more spiritual, but not according to the knowledge of God; there is much pretense and hypocrisy. There are religions on every corner that use the name of God, but know Him not. When religion denies Jesus Christ, they deny God. Jesus Himself said, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). There is truly only one true worship of God, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ, by His death, burial and resurrection. Any other presumed worship is a treacherous and pretentious worship.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Wonderful Love of God

There are far too many times I have heard of people, even Christians, saying; “The God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament”, or they say; “People of the Old Testament were saved differently than the people of the New Testament time.” My usual response to that is; “That just isn’t so”.

In reading in the book of Genesis we find that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD”. He did not earn his salvation it was by grace (Genesis 6:8). We find again in Genesis, “And he [Abram, ie., Abraham] believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). That same phrase is used to assure us that Abraham was not saved by works but by grace in Romans 4:1-4.

In looking in the book of Jeremiah the prophet proclaims the love or our God and Savior:

“They say, ‘if a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not tht land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; ‘Yet return to Me,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:1 (NKJV).

The prophet likens the people of Israel and Judah to a wife who has committed many adulteries, and abominations against her Husband who is God. According to law, Deuteronomy 24:1-04, it was an unclean act for a man to have his previously divorced, remarried, divorced and to take her back to himself. It was considered a defilement of the promised land. God, though, seeing the uncleanness of His people calls them to repent and return to Him. Despite the fact of their many acts of treachery, adultery and spiritual adultery, their murder of small children and elderly people; God says, “I still love you. Return to Me.’

That is the grace of God displayed in the Old Testament. Saved and restored by God’s amazing and wonderful love and grace.

Rejected Helpers

There have been a few times that the Nation of Israel turned their backs on their God – YHWH, and in doing so committed harlotry against Him. Israel was the chosen wife of God, but they committed adultery against Him. God has not been pleased with them to say the least; when they committed this idolatrous act against Him.

In their sin they have taught their young to despise the prophets, to practice idolatry, at least those who were not burned in fires offered to Baal. The LORD used various forms of judgment against them to bring them back to Himself, but they would always fall back into their disobedience and immorality.

Hear the Word of the Lord:

“Why do you beautify your way to seek love? Therefore you have also taught the wicked women your ways. Also on your skirts is found the blood of the lives of the poor innocents. I have not found it by secret search, but plainly on all these things. yet you say, ‘Because I am innocent, surely His anger shall turn from me.’ Behold, I will plead My case against you, because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’ Why do you gad about so much to change your way? Also you shall be ashamed of Egypt as you were ashamed of Assyria. Indeed you will go forth from him with your hands on your head; for the LORD has rejected your trusted allies, and you will not prosper by them.” Jeremiah 2:33-35 (NKJV).

There was such adultery in the land that God hated it. He hates divorce [putting away] (See Malachi 2:16), and He would hate the putting away of His people. He does everything to woo them back to Himself. He warns, He woos, He judges. The nation even made themselves look more appealing to the neighbors, when asking for their aid against the common enemy. This was their adultery. This was their turning away from the LORD, and this led to their actually offering their children in the fire to the Baals of false religions.

When God’s people start to depende upon people, politics, power, and religion, then, they have forsaken the LORD God in favor of the favors of men.

When God says, “On your skirts is found the blood of the lives of the poor innocents.” It seems that He would be referring to the lives of the children offered to the false religions in the fire. The blood of their innocent children are all over them, and cry out from the soil of the earth. God says, that it is plain to see. It is on your skirts. As one other prophet has said, “Be sure your sins will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

One sad thing about this passage of Scripture is even though they have been caught in the act they deny their sin, and the responsibility of their actions, “I am innocent, I have not sinned”. There can be no repentance when they cannot see that they have sinned against God and His Word. God says, “I will plead My case against you, because you say, ‘I have not sinned.'” When God has a great love for His people, or an individual who is supposed to have a relationship with Him He will work to get them to the point of recognizing their guilt and sin. Why fuss and argue with God about your sin, just confess it and repent. That would be simpler, and much less complicated than arguing with God.

God assures His people that there is no prosperity to those who trust in foreign countries who will be their enemy, but you will leave “With your hands on your head”, surely indicating their captivity in the form of surrender. Most of the time when a police officer captures a fleeing criminal they order them to place their hands on their heads. This is surrender. They give it up. Any allies Israel or Judah trusted in has came to nought, and so will the allies we depend on other than God. God rejects the helper, and also rejects those who were dependent upon the helpers. It is because they have rejected God.

Christian brother and/or sister our only help is the LORD God. When we put more confidence in people, power, politics, wealth, fame, or anything other than God we too commit an act of adultery against God. God will also reject our helpers.

Like the Animals???

It is so very sad to look around at society and see things going to the dogs. With a man being sentenced to prison time for killing dogs, even though, he was unjustly and illegally fighting them is a sign of worse things to come.

We are human beings created in the image of God. We have been given, by God, the rule and dominion of this earth. The man I speak of may have deserved a fine, maybe some loss of time from playing on the team he was on, and maybe even a fine from the NFL for the bad name against them.

It is so unhuman to give greater power and authority to the animal kingdom than to the human being. It is when we begin acting like animals that we begin treating humanity more like animals.

Hear the word of the Lord spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

“How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals?’ Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done–a restless young camel running here and there, a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her. Keep your feet from going undshod and your throat from thirst. But you said, ‘It is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, and after them I will go.’ Jeremiah 2:23-25 (ESV).

Many reading this will probably think, “Well how is this relative or practical for our society today?” I personally think that is an easy answer. When we have parents wanting to do things to protect their daughters from sexually immoral living by having them take a shot to protect them from a form of cancer that can be gotten only by pre-marital sex at too young of an age, then we are telling our children, “Your urges are uncontrollable, just follow your ‘heart'”. In other words your sexual drive is stronger than your mind and will. Just go with how you feel and this vaccine will protect you. People we are more than animals. We have a will. We can make moral choices. Animals do not.

This was the problem with the people in Jeremiah’s day. They were giving themselves to Baal worship and this involved all sorts of immoral conduct. Then, they would say on the Sabbath day as they pretended to worship the Lord GOD, “We have not gone after the Baals”.

I do not mean to sound brash in what I am about to write here, but there are many of our young ladies and young men who go around acting like animals in heat. This is not pleasing to our Lord. Even sadder to say is that many of these doing this profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

What is the answer for our society today? We need to quit giving our young people the okay for sexual immorality. When birth control pills are given them, and a vaccine is provided to them to protect them from pregnancy and disease; we are in fact giving our okay to them. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s teach them the law of God’s Word. Let’s teach them by our own personal examples. The youth of America appreciate honesty, straight forward truth, and they will respect you for it. They will not respect “Hemming and Hawing around” about matters to get to the point.

As the people of God we who are adult Christians need to practice what we preach and teach. We should always be seeking the Lord to lead in our lives, and to give us the mind of Christ.

There is a lot of loose living in society. We as Christians should live a tight knit life in Christ, love our spouses, and be always faithful, and worship God and God alone through His Son Jesus Christ.