Comfortable Christians

Internal Battles

Just how much do we value feeling comfortable? I believe the preaching over the last 15-25 years reveals that modern Christians in the New Testament church want sound preaching, as long as it doesn’t force us out of our comfort zones. We want to be able to sit back and listen to a well-prepared preacher from padded pews or chairs, and then slip right back into our normal walks of life afterwards. The take home message: “Don’t convict me too much and don’t weigh your lesson down with too much application. Because then you’ve gone from preaching to meddlin.”

Comfortable?  Like the fluff and social programs rather than God?

Comfortable? Like the fluff and social programs rather than God?

So what happens when a family truly engages in the Culture War? Or what happens when someone begins to really carry out the great commission? Having traveled all across the country I have had the pleasure of meeting individuals who “get it.” I have spoken to Christians who desire more than comfortable Christianity. They understand the gravity of the situation, and they are doing whatever they can to ensure the spiritual well-being of their children/grandchildren, all the while looking for ways to reach out to the lost around them.

The problem is these individuals often make “comfortable” Christians in their own home congregations feel very uncomfortable—and this discomfort often results in an internal battle. Maybe it’s because these zealous Christians desire to study the Bible deeper and spend less time on fluffy topics. Or maybe it’s because they won’t allow their children to participate in certain worldly activities. Or maybe it’s because they are constantly pointing out additional ways the congregation could outreach. Or maybe it’s because they are tired of all the “internal” programs.

Whatever it is, these individuals often stand out—like a fish trying to go upstream against the current, when all the other fish are swimming downstream. Their existence among comfortable Christians causes friction. These zealous Christians honestly desire to be Holy, and so their entire lives focus on how to be more Christ-like and how to share the good news. Yet, they are surrounded by people who are comfortable right where they are—people who believe they have checked all the right boxes, and therefore they don’t want someone constantly reminding them they could be doing more or could be shaping their own lives better.

Many older Christians view these zealous Christians in a critical fashion. Rather than support the quest of those who want to be more Holy, comfortable Christians end up tearing them down and question how they are raising their children. After all, they believe if it was good enough for them, then it ought to be good enough for everyone. (These are the same comfortable Christians who totally ignore the real statistics of how many of our children we are retaining in the church.) And sadly, these zealous Christians wake up and discover one of their toughest battles is actually in their own congregations.

I have seen it all over—people who earnestly desire focus their entire lives on Christ who have been basically ostracized by those who have grown comfortable in the pew. Some of these “comfortable” Christians describe themselves as pillars in the congregation, and yet they stopped growing spiritually years ago. For those of you who are zealous and looking for more ways to follow after Christ, let this be an encouragement to you. Do not grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9). Keep on teaching your children His ways. Keep on distancing yourself from the darkness of the world. Keep on looking for ways to tell people about Christ. Don’t be satisfied with the “norm.”

For those who are comfortable—might I suggest you consider your ways (Haggai 1:5,7) and examine yourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5)? Have you ever considered what your discouragement is ultimately doing to His kingdom? Might I suggest that comfortable preaching has duped you into thinking you are a pretty good person. And maybe you are when compared to the world. But you are not so “good” when compared to a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). Stop using the world as your standard. Repent from trying to dim the light of those who seek to serve Him more faithfully. Tame your tongue and look at the fruit (Matthew 7) that a comfortable life produces, versus one who is truly committed to Christ. Stop trying to silence those in your congregation who desire a closer relationship with Him and look for ways to relight your own fire. Stop warring against brothers and sisters in Christ and go after the real adversary! The reality is we are on the same team—isn’t it time we started acting like it?!

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LGBT: Let God Be True… (2)

LGBT: Let God Be True…

…But Every Man A Liar (Romans 3:4)

(Part Two)

In Part 1 of this article (please read http://churchofchristarticles.com/blog/administrator/lgbt-let-god-true before continuing) it was well-chronicled that God, from the very beginning up until this very second, has only created humankind as either male, or female, and has done so with absolutely no in-betweens, combinations, errors or confusions. Both males and females were created, both for and with, certain anatomical, behavioral, and psychological abilities, in order to fit the specific situations, roles, and responsibilities which God wanted them to fulfill in the physical world which He created. Any subsequent gender confusion, corruption, or perversion has thus and since not ever come from God, but from the Satanically-structured deception, environment, and biblical ignorance which such confused people find themselves inevitably immersed, overcome, and engulfed in.

God Did Great Male and Female Perfectly. There was no LGBT Rebellion.

God Did Great Male and Female Perfectly. There was no LGBT Rebellion.

As Christians, it is hoped that we would all hurt for, and would thus help to heal with the living word of God Himself (Hebrews 4:11-13), such painfully deceived, deluded, and gender-confused people. Certainly we as Christians should all want to be on the same page and would never want to participate in contributing to any such Satanically-induced corruption and confusion of the sexes… would we?

You see, the reason I ask is because it seems to me that there is just as sinful and tragic of a gender-confusion promoting element amongst some of our very own people today. An element that seems bent on incrementally implementing into the Lord’s church, a similar ideology, and one that is no less sinful, ungodly, or anti-Scriptural, than the one being perversely perpetrated and pushed by our current president onto the American people! In fact, when one considers the unbelievable similarities, they are incredibly frightening!

Please re-read and reconsider 1st Timothy 2:8-15. That text, which takes you back to the very same, exact beginning of time in the Garden of Eden as the above and aforementioned, establishes once and for all time, God’s perfect and eternal pattern of things when it comes to His creation of men and women, both for and with, certain anatomical, behavioral, and psychological abilities, in order to fit the specific situations, roles, and responsibilities which God wanted them to fulfill in the SPIRITUAL world as well. These ageless, timeless, and divinely-inspired and dictated (Ps. 119:89; 2 Tim. 3:16-17), gender-confusion-negating and neutralizing “commandments of God” when it comes to each member’s gender roles, responsibilities, and restrictions, are also very clearly pointed out once again in 1 Corinthians 14:33-37 (please see).

And that brings us to this… A newspaper associated with the churches of Christ, and one that is notorious for continually seeking to support and further promote gender confusion by publishing stories, articles, and advertisements which help blur the lines between the sexes when it comes to their God-designed and defined roles and responsibilities within the Lord’s church, recently published – under the heading of “Opinion,” no less – responses from several Christian women to a question they had earlier posed, regarding ‘What to tell our daughters about the proper role of women in the church.’ I’m somewhat glad they didn’t ask men like me that question – and probably they are too! (After all, I’m guessing my comments never would’ve made the final cut). But just in case, here’s the answer anyway. (And by the way, before continuing, just let me say that my wife and I have two very faithful adult daughters who grew up in the church and continue to serve faithfully and steadfastly to this day – within their God-given, defined, and designed roles of course. In fact, I notice that there are no spiritual gender-confusion issues amongst them whatsoever… and here’s how that can be accomplished…)

My first response is that this question is not a matter of “opinion” by any stretch of the imagination, and doesn’t belong anywhere near, or under such a heading, ever – unless of course one has an agenda to please people and give them what they are clamoring for instead of humbly, lovingly, and faithfully giving God what He has clearly commanded (Galatians 1:10). Matters of “opinion” are only those issues about which God has ruled and declared absolutely nothing, hence leaving them up to us. While this would include things like which hour we meet on Sunday, the color of the carpet, and the order of our worship, gender-behavior within our assemblies is assuredly not one of them! See: 1 Corinthians 14:33-37 and 1 Timothy 2:8-15.

Secondly, this question is about as easily and decisively answered in the spiritual world of the church, as whether or not one is a boy or a girl in the physical world around us. Simply observing and accepting what is obviously in evidence in certain areas is more than enough to clarify and answer the question once and for all time. In the case of this question, one need only honestly look at and accept, once again what they clearly see in 1 Corinthians 14:33-37 and 1 Timothy 2:8-15.

In response to ‘What to tell our daughters about the proper role of women in the church,’ I would additionally answer with the following:

1) Christ says our love for Him is directly proven – or disproven – by our willingness – or lack thereof – to humbly submit to and obey His commandments (John 14:15). Their subsequent, submissive silence, and loving lack of leading (whether it be leading prayers, leading singing, or as we gather around the table where Christian men are present) is very clearly, concisely, directly and undeniably commanded by God in 1 Corinthians 14:33-37.

2) In exactly the same way as any physical gender confusion can be easily cleared up by simply, honestly, and sincerely going back to the beginning and understanding that “God made them male and female,” and therefore designed them for, and assigned them with, certain very specific roles and responsibilities, so too are we taken back to that very same beginning in order to clear up any spiritual gender confusion by 1 Timothy 2:8-15. That passage provides us with the undeniable and ageless proof, that this timeless godly pattern, in place since the very beginning of time and originating from God in the very same Garden of Eden, is just as culturally non-negotiable as the physical gender issue.

3) I would additionally answer by saying that just because someone may be talented or gifted at something, does NOT MEAN that they can just arbitrarily disregard the divine boundary lines which almighty God has set in place for them or that practice. And this goes for everyone, both male and female alike, for we are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28) – despite the different talents, abilities, roles, responsibilities, and gifts we may each have to offer. For example, just because a male church member might be a great guitarist does not give him the right to outright deny and defy God’s divinely-established New Testament pattern and rebel against God by playing his instrument while offering up “psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs” to God – especially when the Lord specifically commanded that all His saints simply sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). After all, as Samuel rebuked king Saul, “Has the Lord as great delight in… offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice… For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you…” (See: 1 Samuel 15).

And finally, as to any promoters and perpetrators of some of the scripture-perverting and spiritually gender-confusing practices and practitioners present in the Lord’s church today, I would simply remind my daughters to really read and re-study the following divinely-designed and dictated passages directly from God, in addition to all of those explored and examined above: John 14:15-24; Romans 16:16-19; 1 Corinthians 11:19; 2 Timothy 3:1-4:4; 2 Peter 1:16-2:3, 2:12-22, 3:14-18; and Revelation 3:18-29… if I was asked. But of course, I wasn’t.

 

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LGBT: Let God Be True… (1)

LGBT: Let God Be True…

…But Every Man A Liar (Romans 3:4)

(Part One)

LGBT - Let God Be True - He created them male and female.

LGBT – Let God Be True – He created them male and female.

The fantasy of the fallacy of evolution has finally, once and for all, been forevermore disproven. This, by perhaps some of the very once upon a time champions of its indefensible defense. Apparently, modern American mankind has now de-volved, or gone so far in a backward, downward, diabolical, biological viral spiral, that some of them can no longer even truly discern the difference between whether they are a boy, or a girl. (So much for the much-vaunted and federally financed American education system, huh?) But discerning the difference between whether one is a male or a female, is in all actuality, actually a pretty simple scenario to determine. It’s about the most basic thing to discern there is. Doctors delivering babies have done it for millennia. And even animals (such as monkeys for example) still know the difference. They still know how to identify and interact with members of their own, as well as the opposite sex, and subsequently function as they were designed to do by their Creator from the very beginning. In fact, discerning the difference between whether one is male or female dates back to the very beginning of time with God the Creator and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden! Genesis 1:27 records: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Please notice God did not start with ‘Adam and Steve.’ He did not create a third gender, or a confused, combined, contrived mixture of the two – He created the two, only the two, and none other but the two genders, period. Hence, everyone born thereafter would be ‘after their own kind,’ and once again, only either male, or female – no third option; no combination; no need for confusion. Nor has our eternally-perfect God ever made the man-conceived mistake, of putting a woman’s soul into a man’s body, or a man’s soul into a woman’s body.

But please notice that God’s creation of the plants, animals, and mankind as male and female – which God perfectly oversaw and saw as all being “very good” (Gen. 1:31) – was all prior to Satan’s arrival on the scene, and his subsequent, sinful, confusion and corruption of God’s perfection in Genesis 3.

Now, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33). Not only is God not the author of confusion, neither is He the originator of deception – Satan is (Gen. 3:1-13). Therefore, if one is confused about their gender, they need to get away from their Satanically structured surroundings, and into the word and church of the living God and His Son Jesus Christ, so that they can finally figure it out and find peace and clarity at long last!

It is a truly evil, ungodly, Satanically-confused and sadistically-tortured world in which we find ourselves seeking to carry out the Apostle Paul’s divinely-inspired and dictated commandments from Titus 2:11-13 my beloved brethren. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”

And; as he additionally instructed young Timothy: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra–what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:1-17).

Therefore my beloved brethren, let us not lose heart (1 Cor. 15:57)! Let us follow God’s timeless commandment and instruction as divinely dictated and delivered to His Son’s first century congregation in Philippi: “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God” (Phil. 1:27-28). But do we truly stand fast thus? Find out in the concluding second half of this article, coming soon!

And in the meantime – fear not! For your own peace of mind and soul, please stop whatever else you’re doing right now and take the time to read, study, re-read and review – and maybe even memorize portions of – Psalms 37 and 73!!! You’ll be glad you did! And to God be all the glory; always and in all ways!!!

 

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