Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Spoiled Church - Part Eight

"If My people, which are called by My name,
shall humble themselves,
and pray,
and seek My face,
and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14
(KJV)

To read A Spoiled Church - Part One, click here.


We have walked through the first three steps required of us in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
At least I hope we have.
If we haven't, there is still time.
God is still listening...waiting...eagerly hoping we do the right thing,
so He can hear from Heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land.

As difficult as all 3 steps have been, step #4 may just be the hardest one yet.

When it comes to turning from our wicked ways, we are a willingly-oblivious bunch.

As Christians, those who are called by God's name, we like to brush our own sins under the rug.

It makes us feel more holy and sanctimonious to point our fingers in the direction of others.
We sit on our lofty, exalted, self-appointed judgment seats, and we take pleasure in doling out  condemnation to the adulterers, liars, cheaters, homosexuals,
thieves, fornicators, drunkards, drug addicts, and incarcerated.

Don't misunderstand me.
Sin is sin.
I didn't write It.
I am only quoting It.
If you need proof, here it is...straight from the mouth of God, not mine.

Please hear Him out.

"Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals,
nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, 
nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God."
I Corinthians 6:9,10
(NASB)

God is a holy God.
He created a holy Heaven.
Sin will never make it past its gates.
Period.

In these two verses, there are exactly 10 sins listed.

We, as Christians, are quick to accentuate and point out exactly eight of them.
Think about it.
We love to talk about eight of them.

Fornication is sin.
The worship of anything or anyone other than God is sin.
Adultery is sin.
Men acting like, or pretending to be, women is sin.
Homosexuality is sin.
Stealing is sin.
Alcoholism is sin.
Extortion is sin.

In our holier-than-thou, prideful way of thinking,
we like to pick and choose.
Do we not?

We like to lump sin into categories.
We think if we accentuate and place strong emphasis on certain sins,
we can justify the ones we have self-determined to be "innocent", less-offensive-to-God sins.

There are no "innocent" sins, my friends.

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
James 2:10

"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
James 4:17

Sin, of any form, will stop us at the gates of Heaven.
God will not give any of us a pass, if sin is present when we stand before Him.

Those "little" sins that we foolishly believe we have so tucked away that God will never notice,
will stand out like a sore thumb when we are standing alone in the presence of Holy, Almighty God.

Why do we try to compartmentalize it and convince ourselves and try to coerce others into believing
that certain sins will land us in Hell, but other sins will slide right on past the gates of Heaven?

All sin is sin.

There are no accentuated words in I Corinthians 6:9,10.
And we have no right to add emphasis to what God has already written.

I specifically omitted "the covetous" and "revilers" from my list above.
Why?

Because, I want to prove the point that we have deceived ourselves into believing
that some sins are worse than others.
That it has become commonplace for us to categorize sin.

We have foolishly constructed two sin compartments, really.
Ones that will land us in Hell,
and
ones that God will overlook.

We lump adultery, stealing, extortion, homosexuality, gender-alteration, idol-worship,
alcoholism, and fornication into the "will-land-you-in-Hell" category,
and we either completely omit the other two 
or 
we quickly drop them into the "God-isn't-so-concerned-about-this-one" pile each time we feel the least bit convicted.

Let's talk about those other two sins....you know, the two we chose to leave out, shall we?

The Greek word for "coveters" is pleonektai, and it means this:
one desirous of having more
greedy
defrauder
trampling on the rights of others
one eager to have more, especially what belongs to others
eager for gain

Covetousness is sin.
It is mentioned right along with the others.

Let's just face reality.
Can we pull off our rose-colored glasses,
and can we just take an honest-to-goodness look....
not at others, but at ourselves?

How many times do we covet?
Someone else's car, house, job, status, even spouse.
We are competitive, trying to outdo one another and overachieve.
We are never satisfied...always wanting more.
More possessions.
More popularity.
More "likes" and "tweets" and "friends" and "shares".
We love numbers...and feeling like we are most-liked.
We are so focused on being and having the most,
that we don't stop to think about whose rights we are trampling on to achieve it.
We envy one another and are filled with jealousy,
begrudging one another's successes and victories.
We covet the praise of others, love accolades and pats on the back,
and long to receive glory that only belongs to God.
We go to extreme lengths to be the smartest, prettiest, and most well-dressed,
hoping to be bragged upon.
It's all about self.
We are a greedy lot,
longing for more money and more of this world.
If we coveted more of Jesus half as much as we crave and pursue the things of this world,
we would no longer be a spoiled church.

Let's call it what God calls it.
A person who covets is committing sin.

And what about those "revilers" mentioned in the above verse?
The Greek original for reviler is "loidoroi", and it means...
abuser
injuring another's reputation by abusive insults

Ouch!
We do NOT like to call it sin...when it is in us, do we?

How often we dole out abuse!
How often we injure the reputation of another by way of abusive insults!

Social media provides an unlimited platform for good.
It can be used in the best and most edifying of ways.
But, all too often, we use it to self-promote and insult others.
It is so much easier to utter hurtful, abusive words when the subject is not standing in front of us.
We have convinced ourselves that saying it online makes it less mean-spirited and less offensive.

And what about our gossiping off-line?
Do we ever stop and think how much damage we are doing to the reputation of others,
as we air their dirty laundry, magnify their failures, and gloat over their defeats?
And how about the way we badger one another and find fault with those who do not worship
under the same umbrella, church sign, and denomination as we do,
but who love Jesus just as much and are trying their utmost to please Him?

Honestly, is this God-honoring?
Reviling, through whatever means it is executed, is sin, my friends.
Just like the other eight.

We are a proud people, feeling superior to others,
because we compare different types of sin and convince ourselves that the wrongs we consistently commit are not as sinful as those who do not profess Christianity.
We don't like to admit that there are any wicked ways...in us, do we?
We say we live "above sin", but we show ugly, hate-filled attitudes towards anyone and everyone who happens to disagree with us on any given point.
We perceive ourselves as so much holier than others,
and, in our pride and arrogance, we foster hostility and ill will.
Tell me, whose sin is greater?
Does it matter?
Are there levels and degrees and categories of sin?
All unforgiven, willful disobedience will land us separated from God for eternity.
We pass off step #4 to the unbelievers.
What we fail to either realize or admit is that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not addressed to the unbelievers,
it is addressed to us...the Christians...God's people.
If it weren't possible for there to be wicked ways in us to turn from,
He would never have told us we needed to.
We are so trapped in the Laodicean mindset...
 "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing",
that we feel we have no wicked ways from which to turn.

In addition to the two mentioned omitted sins above, we are guilty of so many others.
We judge, when Jesus said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged."  Matthew 7:1
We rob God by withholding required tithes and offerings.
"Will a man rob God? 
Yet ye have robbed Me. 
But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? 
In tithes and offerings.
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, 
and prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Malachi 3:8-10

If we were half as diligent about giving God His rightful 10%, plus offerings, as we are interested in building our bank account, God's cause would never suffer.
And just in case we have bought into the opinion that tithing was only intended for the Old Testament, may I respectfully remind us that Jesus Himself commanded and reinforced tithing?
 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! 
For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, 
but you ignore the more important aspects of the law--justice, mercy, and faith. 
You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things."
Matthew 23:23
NLT
We fudge the truth and call it white lies, when Colossians 3:9 says,
 "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds..."
We ignore the homeless, hungry, thirsty, shabbily-clothed, sick, and incarcerated,
because we don't want to "get involved" or "get our hands dirty",
when Jesus said that our reaction to these needs will determine who is a sheep and who is a goat on Judgment Day.
Matthew 25:31-46
We continue to participate in "gray areas",
and we take the risky chance of offending God.
Not every, single thing is spelled out in readable black and white.
Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit, and "He will guide you into all truth".  John 16:13
Being filled with His Spirit will infuse His guidance into our lives.
If you are not sure about something you are tempted to do,
give God the benefit of the doubt, and leave it alone.
It is always better to err on the side of caution when one's eternal destination is at stake.
 We refuse to take a stand by withdrawing from participation in the political process.
It is high time that we shake off our lethargy and become proactive.
We all have a personal accountability in this.
We all must do our individual part.

There is a presidential election on the horizon.
As Christians, what will we do about this?
Will we choose to stay home on election day, as so many of us have chosen to do in the past?

Is this right?
Do we have no individual responsibility?

"Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His:
And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: 
He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding..."
Daniel 2:20-21

I have heard so many Christians use this verse as a cop-out for not voting.
They contend that God is the One Who removes and sets up kings, so they have no personal responsibility or role to play in this.

How can we be so deceived?
We need to "anoint our eyes with eye salve that we might see."
Revelation 3:18

Do we not realize that God is the One Who entrusts us, His people, with the privilege of being able to vote, and that if we do not implement and exercise this privilege, we are, in essence, handing that right-of-way over to others who may not be led by His Spirit in their voting decisions?

Is this a risk that you and I can longer afford?

As God changes the times and the seasons, He gives wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to His people and moves their hearts in a certain, particular direction.
If we do not respond to this moving of His Spirit, we will be held accountable for the outcome.

In America, we are abundantly blessed to live in a republic...
a system of government in which we all may have a voice and make that voice heard by way of casting a ballot for the candidate who comes closest in line with our personal beliefs and convictions.

I am not going to apologize for being too "political".
It is high time we stopped apologizing for the truth.
We can afford to separate our faith and our politics NO LONGER.
The time has come that the two must merge and become one.

How can we possibly cast our vote for those who oppose our Christian faith?
How can we vote for those who believe in the exact opposite of Biblical truth?
How can we not vote...at all?

I do want to mention that while there are several conservative options on the political horizon,
we should never place our trust in men.
They are fallible.
They make mistakes.
They are subject to indiscretions, scandals, and every aspect of the human condition.
While I respect many of the possible candidates, and while I have my preference as to who will eventually rise to the top of the political playing field for 2016,
my hope is in God, and in God alone.

"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man."
Psalm 118:8

I will not use this platform to try to influence and convince you to vote for one particular candidate.
What if I am wrong?
I do not know the future or God's mind, and I cannot predict what a person will do in the future.
But, I do want to encourage you to PLEASE by all means,
take the time to PRAY and seek God's face,
ask Him to direct you,
and then go VOTE based on His direction and the Christian values
that are so near and dear to our hearts, and that stand in such jeopardy.

It is a dear privilege to have this freedom.
Our forefathers made great sacrifices to make it possible for us to choose our leaders.

 I feel like this is one of the most important presidential elections ever.
Keep in mind that whoever is elected will more than likely be handed the free rein to personally choose and appoint at least one, possibly more judges to the Supreme Court.
This is a lifetime appointment.
As we have painfully learned, these nine judges wield an enormous amount of influence over the spiritual and moral direction of not only our generation, but any generations that may follow us.

Do you not sense the urgency?
Will you embrace your own personal responsibility?

I have heard such lame excuses as someone not wanting to register to vote for fear of being called upon for jury duty and other such flimsy rationalizations.

Please, dear friends.
Isn't it time we get over ourselves?

I implore you to consider the greater cause, and set aside your own conveniences.

Oh, there is so much more on my heart, and this post is so long already!
Transforming this burden into a book is sounding more probable to me by the day.
Truly, I feel I am only skimming the surface, and it would take a book to contain it all.

There is still another facet I feel burdened about concerning step #4 of 2 Chronicles 7:14,
so, for the sake of length, Lord willing, I will continue this line of thought,
but take it in a slightly different direction, in the next post.

Stay tuned for Part Nine of "A Spoiled Church"!!!
Coming soon, Lord willing!!!

24 comments:

  1. appreciate you sharing this series.

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    1. Thanks for your dear, faithful support and encouragement, Denise. How I appreciate it! God bless you, my friend. :)

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  2. Thanks for sounding the clarion call Cheryl and be willing obey God's voice. Have a blessed weekend.

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    1. Dear Wanda! How I thank you for reading and for commenting! Your encouragement consistently blesses me, and I love and appreciate you, sweet friend! :)

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  3. Hey Cheryl, you are doing an amazing job with this series and it is definitely something that needs to get out there. Well done! I just want you to know that I won't be able to read the posts for a week or so and that I will be thinking and praying for you during that time. I just need some time to catch up on things. I pray God will bless you as you continue writing what he puts on your heart. You are such a blessings. Lots of love xxxx

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Terri. Please don't ever feel badly if you can't comment....you are always so kind, and I certainly understand needing to pull back from the computer and from doing so much. God and our families come first. I applaud your decision, and trust the dear Lord to give you strength to get caught up and do all you need to. Until the next time, I will be praying for you....much love to you, sweet friend. :)

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  4. Hi Cheryl! I think your point about judging our sin is a good one. I know that I tend to think that what I do 'isn't that bad' compared to what I see in the newspaper or on the news. But I can't measure myself against others. I have to look to the one who guides me and rules me. HE is the one who will judge me, on my works along.

    May I never decide that my sins are 'okay'. They're aren't.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. I know what you mean...it is so easy to overlook the wrong things we do and focusing on the wrongs of others makes us feel more justified. It is a trick of the enemy, and we have to stand firm against it. I am so thankful for your sweet visit and encouragement. Have a blessed Sunday, my friend! God bless you. :)

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  5. I have often thought about this issue of sin, and how we humans approach it. It seems to me that we like to *rate* sins. We like to think there are the really bad ones, and then the not-so-bad ones. We are quick to judge and condemn others for committing the bad ones, and then dismissing our own not-so-bad ones. But, to God, it is all the same. There is just SIN, and it manifests itself in many ways. And, it doesn't matter if you miss His perfect standard of holiness by an inch or a trillion light years. We ALL miss the mark.

    Great words here, and much to ponder. I just happen to think that we all need to stop being *speck-in-the-eye spotters* and attend to the *log jams* in our own lives. And that process begins with humility, and the willingness to look at what's rotten in our own hearts.

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Wow, I loved what you said about it doesn't matter if you miss His perfect standard of holiness by an inch or a trillion light years. This is so true. Yes, dear Lord, help us to stop criticizing the mote in our brother's eye while overlooking the log in our own. Thank you for your support and encouragement, dear friend. God bless you!

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  6. I feel sorry for pastors and leaders these days with all the political correctness they endure. My pastor preached one of those "no minced word" sermons a few Sundays ago and when a bunch of us encouraged him, he told us all the same thing: "I was afraid." I just read that chaplains now are forbidden to call homosexuality a sin.

    May we all remember the call to holiness and call sin what it is and confess it by name.
    Love,
    Mary

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    1. Dear Lord, have mercy, and help us all. So very thankful for your visit and encouragement, Mary. Still praying for your Amy and hoping all is well with you, sweet friend. :)

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  7. May we all ask God to search our hearts and reveal those hidden (tiny) sins that are just as big as what we call big. It is time to mean business with God and to daily repent, seek His face and humble ourselves before our Lord. May we rejoice when others prosper, and be willing to share with those who have less. I asked permission to share at the evening service at our church. I told the Pastor, I know who is there on Sunday nights. (most are from our Rescue Mission) and I told Pastor, maybe they need to hear the gospel from a Grandmother. I send him an e-mail of my sermon, and he said, that I goes along with his morning message so to go ahead. Later when I was home, negative thoughts came, "You really messed up." Immediately the Lord spoke, "Not so, for did you not notice how well they all paid attention?" :-) I turned the service back to the Pastor and God showed up.

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    1. I would have loved to have heard your sermon, Hazel. I read it on your blog and was very blessed by it. God bless you abundantly. Thank you for your encouragement.

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  8. I should have never doubted that you had more! Excellent points, sister.
    "Glory that only belongs to God." That really stood out to me. Our fallen flesh craves what we haven't earned nor could we ever hold up under. Look at the famous worldly people that cracked under the weight of being glorified. It was only meant for the One that provides every breath for every person every second of everyday.

    As for the politics; The verse, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." jumped into my mind. It's pretty easy to see that the implication is that the nation whose god isn't the Lord are in for dire consequences. I'm praying for this country with you, sister. Keep up the powerful ministry.

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    1. Wow, such amazing words, Floyd! I never thought of it that way...about the ones who have cracked under the weight of being glorified. That glory was never meant for us. It is meant for God. We cannot handle it, as you said. Thank you ever so much for your encouragement and support. It means more than I can say. God bless you, brother.

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  9. We live in terrrible times Cheryl. Unfortunately the enemy is succeeding in blinding many to the fact that we are actually in the end of times.
    While we strive to make sure we are in tune with God and His word, we must not seize to pray and lend our lives to join with God as Harvest hands for His kingdom.
    This is a very timely topic, God help us all.

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    1. Yes, so many minds are blinded. God help us to keep our spiritual eyes open and alert. Thank you for your visit, sister. :)

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  10. Love it! Wow, part 8! You have put so much out there. You are reaching so many with such a message! Keep writing the truth. Love you!
    P.S. Just posted one on my blog, "I Will Never Allow Satan To Silence Me".

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend. I so appreciate your love, friendship, encouragement, and support. I can't wait to read your post!! Love and appreciate you.

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  11. Very well written-great series. Thank you so much for sharing! Visiting you from the modest mom blog link up. www.ruckusandrubies.com

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    1. Thanks, Mandy, and all glory be to God. I so appreciate your sweet visit and the encouragement you left behind! God bless you! :)

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  12. I really needed this!! The part injuring another's reputation it is so easy done. I would like to print your series out to pass on to my sister if that is okay. Keep writing the truth!!!

    Rue

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    1. Thank the dear Lord, Rue. I am so thankful you were helped by this, and I am honored that you want to share it with your sister. May the Lord bless both of you in a special way. So thankful for your visit and encouragement and support! God be with you always. :)

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