Choose Freedom In God’s Will Or Bondage

 

Compromising or following Jesus’ better way

 

Proverbs 30:12 says, “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness.” This verse applies today. Multitudes of non-churchgoers and even churchgoers think that they are pure, even though they have filthy compromising attitudes to sex outside marriage, homosexuality, abortion, looking at the exposed nakedness of mature members of the opposite sex to whom they are not married and so on.

In Revelation 3:15-16, Jesus warned: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.”

In Matthew 7:21, Jesus was not teaching we are saved by good works or by being permanently sinlessly perfect. Instead He was stressing that if we have real saving faith in Him as Lord, we will put a very high priority on doing God’s known will: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

Such real though obviously imperfect obedience will be a post-conversion result of the repentance in our heart that occurred when we turned in our hearts from our unbelief and known sins to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ at conversion.

In Acts 26:19-20, Paul revealed that he preached that everyone should repent and turn to God and then do post-conversion Holy Spirit-empowered good works which express the repentance in our heart which occurred when we turned to God: “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” Matthew 3:8 and Luke 3:8 also refer to the post-conversion “fruits worthy of repentance.”

In Greek, the word “repentance” is “metanoia” which means “a complete change of mind and heart away from sin and toward God”. [1] In relation to “repentance” or “metanoia”, Vine says “this change of mind involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God”. [2]

Acts 3:19 and 26 taken together show that true repentance and conversion to God include changing and turning in our hearts from our known sins: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

 Revelation 2:21, 9:20-21 and Romans 2:4 (in the context of Romans 1:29-2:4) reveal repentance relates to a change of heart by unbelievers about their known sins.

True saving faith is in the Persons of God and Jesus Christ, involves believing and being certain about the key truths revealed in the Gospel and includes surrender and submission to Jesus Christ as our Lord or Supreme Ruler. Saving faith also involves submitting to the claims of the Gospel on our lives, includes trusting and relying on God and Christ, is accompanied by a repentant or changed heart attitude to our known sins at conversion and results in a practical turning from our known sins after conversion.

 

Leadership and the fear of man

 

Because of a fear of being criticised and rejected and a fear of losing numbers from their church, many church leaders will not warn their members to avoid the sins of abortion, homosexuality, watching movies and television shows which approve of sex outside marriage or sorcery and witchcraft, exposing their nakedness in wrong situations, and similar things. Such compromising leaders do not deeply love their people. In Revelation 3:19, Jesus reveals that true love expresses itself sometimes in the rebuking of those whom we love.

Such compromising is not new. In his 1982-1985 study of the views of supposedly “born-again” students at seven major Evangelical American theological colleges, Professor James Hunter found 46% felt “that under most circumstances or even all circumstances, to emphasise to non-believers that they will be eternally damned to hell if they do not repent of their sins was in poor taste.” [3]

Church leaders who tell their own church members to make up their own minds about such moral issues as above are shirking their God-given responsibility. The New Testament commands all church leaders to rebuke, correct and admonish God’s people about their sins and false ideas (see 1 Timothy 5:19-21, 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:9 and 2:15). The word “admonish” means to correct or rebuke gently and to warn others of various sins. In Proverbs 24:25, God promises to bless those who rebuke those doing wickedness: “But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.”

In 2 Corinthians 11:29, Paul expressed the heart of a believer who is really filled and ruled by the Holy Spirit when he said about God’s people: “…Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?” Paul was deeply affected whenever other believers fell into sin.

In the Old Testament, God’s prophets corrected, rebuked and warned about various sins and called others to turn from their sins, but false prophets did not do these things (see Isaiah 30:8-11, Jeremiah 6:13-15, 23:21-22, Lamentations 2:14 and Ezekiel 3:16-21).

James 3:1 strongly warns all teachers of the Word of God that God holds them responsible for what they teach: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgement.”

Jesus Christ is a perfect example of a New Testament prophet. One aspect of His ministry as a prophet was to stress repentance [4] and turning from known sins. [5] The Apostles Paul and Peter also stressed repentance – having a change of mind and will about our known sins – and about having faith in God and Christ. [6]

Proverbs 29:25 says the fear of man is a snare or trap. In Galatians 1:10, Paul reveals that we cannot serve God properly if we are a people-pleaser.

The people-pleasing desire to obtain or keep numbers at churches at any cost has become so extreme in some places today that church leaders will do almost anything. For example, one Episcopal Church in the United States, after recently doing market research, found that the way to attract numbers was to “deliberately de-emphasise Jesus Christ”. Their minister, Rev. Harry B… said, “We’re enabling people to discover God themselves, maybe through Jesus, maybe through Buddha, maybe through any number of ways.”  [7]

 

Biblical prophecy which may relate to today

 

Revelation 9:13-21 records that even after a massive world war in which 200 million soldiers will kill one-third of the human race, most humans still would not repent of their sins. Revelation 9:13-16 and 20-21 state: “Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great River Euphrates.’ So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million, and I heard the number of them…But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

Note the following about the above:

 

         These 200 million soldiers were released at the Euphrates River in Iraq. The identity of these soldiers is debatable. They could be a combined army of Middle Eastern and some Asian nations. Or they may be numerous opposing armies who begin a major world war in Iraq. Only God knows, but this may refer to sometime in the coming decades.

         Revelation 9:20-21 predicts the majority of the human race would not repent of their murders, sorceries, sexual immorality, stealing, demon worship and idolatry.

         In Revelation 9:20-21, the word “murders” can also include abortions, euthanasia, killing of handicapped newborn babies, acts of terrorism and other killing of innocent people.

         The word “sorcery” in Revelation 9:21 is “pharmakia” which Vine says, “primarily signified the use of medicine, drugs, spells…In sorcery, the use of drugs whether simple or potent, were generally accompanied by incantations and appeals to occult powers, with the provision of various charms, amulets etc…” [8]

Since the 1960’s there has been an almost unbelievable increase in the usage of harmful drugs like heroin, cocaine, L.S.D. and marijuana and in all forms of occult, witchcraft and psychic phenomena in Western countries. Fortune-telling, divination, casting spells, charms, ouija boards, E.S.P, spiritualist mediums, psychic healing and automatic handwriting are examples of the latter.

Revelation 9:20-21 reveals that harmful drug-taking, occult and witchcraft would be some of the evils which multitudes would not repent of before Jesus returns to Earth.

         In Revelation 9:21, the phrase “sexual immorality” describes all types of sexual intercourse outside marriage. In recent decades, almost every country on Earth has been flooded with types of movies, television shows, magazines and other things which promote sexual intercourse outside marriage. At present on Earth countless millions of people are involved in various forms of sexual immorality.

Revelation 9:21 also refers to multitudes not repenting of “thefts”. In recent decades, most Western countries have experienced an enormous increase in crimes related to stealing other people’s money and property.

         Multitudes of humans will not repent of idolatry and worship of demons. Multiplied millions follow the wicked idolatry promoted by religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.

 

In Luke 17:28-29, Jesus said that before He returned to Earth, it would be like in Lot’s day: “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”

One of the major occurrences in Lot’s day was widespread homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot lived. Even though these verses do not specifically mention homosexuality, it is probably no co-incidence Jesus compared the time of Lot to the time before He returns.

Even if Revelation 9:13-21 and Luke 17:28-29 do not relate to now or the next few decades, we would be very wise if we make sure we turn from all known sins listed in those verses.

 

Compromising with the world leads to wickedness

 

Compromising with the world results in spiritual decay and not revival. For example, the Presbyterian and Uniting Churches in Australia have compromised greatly with the world for many years by allowing members of the Freemasons cult to remain as members of their churches. They refused to discipline such churchgoers.

This compromising had led to the situation where some Presbyterian and Uniting Church Moderators – their highest leaders were practicing Masons. [9] Only God knows how much wicked influence the heads of the Freemasons had over the doctrines and practices of the Presbyterian and Uniting Churches, through their strong influence over these Moderators!

 

A tragic example for churches today to learn from

 

From the 1880’s when Australian Christianity was so strong in many ways, some leaders and churchgoers began to accept the false teachings of liberal Christianity spread from Europe and the United States. These heretics claimed that to continue to gain converts, the churches had to preach a more contemporary “gospel”. This more relevant “gospel” involved rejecting all the supernatural elements in the Bible – for example, Jesus’ virgin birth, His miracles, His resurrection, the Trinity, the existence of Satan and demons, the infallibility of the Bible, the Final Judgment, the Biblical teaching on God’s anger against sinners and similar things.

This false liberal “gospel” first spread among the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans and Congregationalists. [10] By the 1920’s, liberal teaching had even gained a strong foothold among the Methodists in Australia. Dr W.G. Torr became a leading Methodist teacher in Australia and succeeded in having 1923 General Conference of Australian Methodism approve of the liberal teacher Arthur Peakes “A Commentary on the Bible” being used as a text for all Methodists on probation preparing to be ministers. [11] The people-pleasing compromisers at this Methodist conference wrote to Peake saying their decision was “a vote for truth and thousands will thank God”. I am sure God will not be thanking these voters about this matter at the Final Judgment!!

Despite the spread of this false liberal “gospel” in the early 1900’s, nearly all churches, even the liberal ones, kept teaching Biblical morals about stealing, lying, adultery, sex outside marriage, homosexuality, divorce and so on.

But note from about the mid-1900’s, liberals in the Church in Australia began to cease opposing easy divorce, abortion, homosexuality, sex before marriage and began to teach worldly situational ethics instead. For example, in 1972, the General Conference of the Methodist Church in Australia refused to teach that homosexuality and lesbianism is always a sin and stated it was up to individual Christians to decide “whether or not such relationships are worthy for him or her in the light of Christian teaching.” [12]

This backsliding and compromising in the Methodist Church continued when they joined with some Presbyterians and Congregationalists to form the Uniting Church in June 1977. For example, in July 2003 in Resolution 84 at their National Triennial Assembly, the Uniting Church in Australia decided to ordain homosexual ministers. In this resolution, the Uniting Church removed all obstacles to their ordaining of homosexual ministers in Australia.

 

Bible Study Questions

 

1.       What does it mean to repent at conversion?

  1. What are the post-conversion “works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:20) or “fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8 and Luke 3:8)?
  2. Discuss what saving faith is!
  3. Should all church leaders rebuke, correct and admonish God’s people when necessary? What verses are evidence of your answer?
  4. Did the Old Testament prophets, Jesus as the perfect New Testament prophet and the Apostles Paul and Peter stress repentance and turning from our known sins? Give Biblical proof for your answer.
  5. What does Revelation 9:13-21 teach us?

 

 


 


[1] Jay Green, page 83.

[2] Vine, page 525.

[3] James D. Hunter, “Evangelicalism – the Coming Generation”, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1987, page 40.

[4] See Matthew 4:17, 9:13, Mark 1:15, Luke 5:32, 13:3, 13:5, 15:7, 15:10, 17:3, 17:4 and 24:47.

[5] See Matthew 5:21-6:7, 6:16-18, 6:24-7:6, 7:15-23, 23:1-33 and many other verses in the four Gospels.

[6] See Acts 2:38, 3:19, 3:26, 11:18, 17:30, 20:21, 26:17-20 and 2 Timothy 2:25.

[7] “Southern Cross Magazine”, Anglican Church, Sydney, Australia, November 2001, page 30.

[8] Vine, page 587.

[9] “The Sun Herald Newspaper”, Sydney, August 7, 1988, page 4.

[10] Ian H. Murray, “Australian Christian Life From 1788”, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1988, page 337.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid, page 339.

 

 


Copyright © 2002 - InternetBibleCollege.net
Individuals may take copies of these works for the purpose of studying the Bible provided that this copyright notice is attached to all copies.