Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Don’t let it slide, Friend.

Well, I finally did it. After much soul searching, I taught a Tuesday night Bible study with my shirttail out. Pretty reckless, huh!? I know it’s not a big deal in our day. The current wisdom is that the younger demographic is looking for old people who dress like teen-agers and pretend to be hip. This has been hard for me, probably because when I was a kid, we were subject to corporal discipline if found in school with an untucked shirt, or with pants unsecured by a belt. Anyway, I did it. It’s not a bad thing, once you get past the embarrassment. I like the idea of not having to worry about my waistline. I can just drape my belly rather than wrap it, and if I want to unbutton my pants, it doesn’t show. But is it really just a step in a greater trend? I mean, how long until it’s bathing suits and robes? All kidding aside, I am not too concerned about our worship wardrobe (for the moment), but I am concerned about creeping compromise in other matters.

I remember when, in an attempt to be more loving, we stopped publicly condemning divorce. Then, out of a desire to help people, we backed off a bit on the negative aspects of being an unwed mother, thus reducing pressure to “do the right thing” and care for our progeny. In just a little while, we realized that sex outside of marriage was prevalent and popular. Rather than compassionately stand for our beliefs, we preached that God understands. Now we make single parenthood an object of praise, and serial cohabitation has become the norm. In the last 30 years, we have even relaxed our standards for those in leadership. We now see all these things in the pulpit, not just the pew. The predictable result is that the world sees a church with no moral authority. Thus, we have homosexuals trying to marry one another, and the church is impotent and afraid. Indeed, many have already succumbed to the “don’t judge, just be loving” deception. The point: Compromise has consequences. Saving the shirttail question for a later time, can we simply ask ourselves, “How do we regain the moral high ground in a culture slouching its sloppy agape way to hell?”

Somebody Said:

“Whoah God only knows, God makes his plan

The information’s unavailable to the mortal man

We’re workin’ our jobs, collect our pay

Believe we’re gliding down the highway, when in fact we’re slip-sliding away”

Paul Simon

Scripture Reading: With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against Him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. (Ephesians 4:17-20 NLT)

If you know me, you know I don’t preach on sin very much. I am changing that. This year the Lord spoke to me that in every message I should at some point address sin in a plain and direct way. We have people sitting in our churches who have no clue what bible morality looks like. Someone has to tell them, and, for lack of other volunteers, I guess it has to be us. Talking about the behaviors God hates, while being clear that He doesn’t hate you, is a narrow niche, but it needs to be done. Otherwise, I fear many will be slip-sliding away.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us online at www.fcftucson.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FCFTucson/

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