Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Between its progressive history, Canada’s Supreme Court, and far left leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, our northern neighbors are gradually forcing Christians into the closet. But before you say ‘that could never happen in America’ or, ‘as long as it doesn’t affect me,’ let’s look at three disturbing news stories. 

Just across the U.S./Canadian border, a Christian bus driver was arrested and charged with a hate crime for evangelizing. Bill Whatcott gave out gospel pamphlets at a Pride parade saying homosexuality can lead to diseases, (which it can) and Jesus can save gay people if they repent of their sins (which He can).

Toronto Police said in a statement that Whatcott “distributed anti-gay material which promoted hatred toward the gay community.” The 51-year-old Christian man was charged with “willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group, namely the gay community.”

Apparently, they’ve reinterpreted John 3:16 to suggest God so loved the world – except for the LGBTQ – that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to give His life as a ransom for the sins of whoever believes – unless you’re LGBTQ. This must be the New Liberal Translation.

But the Bible is true and every word can be trusted. So if you and I love our neighbors, whether they live down the street or across the Canadian border, the love of Christ compels us to tell them the good news that they can be forgiven and saved. It’s not up to us to convict or force them to receive the truth. We’re the messengers.

Bill Whatcott was not only fired from his job, but faces two years in prison as well. And Justin Trudeau became the world’s first national leader to march in a gay pride parade two years ago in Toronto. It was a proud first for his Liberal Party – a Party that also introduced a bill that would punish perceived “discrimination” of transgender individuals – with up to two years in prison.

And if you missed it earlier this year, Ontario Province now allows people born there to remove “male” or “female” from their birth certificates and opt for a “nonbinary” or unknown gender designation.

Next, according to Canadian elites and the LGBTQ mob, “diversity” now means all views and beliefs are welcome – except the Christian worldview.

Canada’s Supreme Court recently ruled 7-2 against a Christian college, Trinity Western University’s (TWU) Law School, essentially forcing them to choose between biblical standards or accreditation, basically suggesting Christianity and academia are incompatible.

Since 1962, Trinity Western in British Columbia, has required its students and faculty to agree to live by a moral code. The audacity! Thousands of Christian schools across North America have similar requirements. TWU refers to theirs as a “Community Covenant.”

Trinity requires students and faculty to pursue a holy life ‘characterized by humility, self-sacrifice, mercy and justice, and mutual submission for the good of others.’ It requires members to abstain from using vulgar language, lying or cheating, stealing, pornography, and further adds:

“according to the Bible, sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman, and within that marriage bond it is God’s intention that it be enjoyed as a means for marital intimacy and procreation.”

Some liberals in North America now think these Christian values are harmful to society. Remember: Truth is hate to those who hate the truth.

But don’t be too quick to bash Canadians. Americans have gradually allowed discrimination against Christians in our own education system. So it would be foolish and naive to think religious intolerance won’t increase in the U.S.

And finally, a judge in Canada has officially declared two men and a woman parents of one child, on the child’s birth certificate. The unmarried threesome are in a relationship together known as polyamory meaning “many loves.”

The judge’s reasoning? Times change. He explains:

“Society is continuously changing and family structures are changing along with it; …This must be recognized as a reality and not as a detriment to the best interests of the child.”

Psalm 119:160 states:

The sum of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

God doesn’t change, and fixed moral absolutes exist by which we govern ourselves and our culture. But to those wanting no accountability, relativism rules, man is god, and anything goes.

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis calls it social Darwinism. He explained:

You see, if naturalistic evolution is your starting point, there is no ultimate authority; The result is …a society clearly in rebellion against God. God created the institutions of marriage and family with one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27, 2:24), so he gets to define them.

Truth is eternal (PS. 117:2), and free speech should be protected, but this debate over what is in the best interest of children will continue; a debate that will soon find itself in the courts of America.

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Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise appearance at the Watchmen on the Wall conference in our nation’s capital last week and implored pastors to share the good news of Jesus Christ. God bless him. But it’s what he said about the Johnson Amendment that we should peak our curiosity.

I don’t remember any president or vice president talking so openly and frequently about the Christian faith. Mike Pence boldly implored the people:

“Keep preaching the good news. Keep preaching in season and out of season as the Bible says. Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have,” (2 Tim. 4:1-2, 1 Peter 3:15)

Pence also received a standing ovation when he emphasized the fact President Trump is the most pro-life president in American history.

Because the Trump administration is strong on religious liberty, it makes sense he mentioned the unconstitutional Johnson Amendment, which restricts religious leaders when it comes to talking about politics.

Mike Pence stated:

“We are going to fight until we fully repeal the Johnson Amendment from the Internal Revenue Code, but it will no longer be enforced under this administration,”

No longer enforced. What a statement! So, what exactly is the Johnson Amendment and is there really an agenda to silence Christians?

The Johnson Amendment was passed in 1954 by Congress as an amendment to section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code… stating that entities that are exempt from federal income tax (such as non-profit groups) cannot “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of – or in opposition to – any candidate for public office.”

This flawed law paved the way for the growing censorship of conservatives, particularly when it comes to restrictions on what can be said during church services.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Then Texas Democrat, Lyndon B. Johnson, was a powerful liberal running for reelection as Senator, but two [conservative] tax-exempt groups were opposing him and passing out literature during the campaigns. He complained to the IRS but found what they were doing was perfectly legal, so he sought other options to fight them.

Johnson shrewdly appeared on the Senate floor on July 2, 1954, and offered his amendment to a pending, massive, tax code overhaul bill. Records indicate an absence of committee hearings on the bill. No legislative analysis took place to examine the effect the bill would have, particularly on churches and religious organizations.

The amendment was simply created to protect Johnson. Why this horrendous law has not been repealed yet is mind-boggling.

Sadly, due to confusion, hype, and misinformation about the Johnson Amendment, religious leaders in America have been unnecessarily self-censoring for decades! The Left uses it to bully Christian pastors and groups with threats of losing their nonprofit status, and they wrongly insist religious leaders must not speak about the Bible as it relates to political and social issues – which are moral issues!

As a result, freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion have been trampled on. A huge amount of people now think the Bible (church) has nothing to say about politics (state) and that it’s illegal for pastors to address candidates and where they stand in light of Scripture or church doctrines.

We need to understand something here: the IRS has never fined a pastor or church. In fact, every year thousands of Christian leaders across the country purposely talk about politics during church services on what is called Pulpit Freedom Sunday.

This of course won’t stop those bent on removing Christian influence from society. President Ronald Reagan once said:

“The Constitution was never meant to prevent people from praying. Its declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray.”

The truth is every time a law is passed, someone’s morality is legislated. Government affects every one of us. Man’s greatest problem is sin and our greatest need is forgiveness, and have every right to speak the truth in love.

The annual Watchman on the Wall conference hosted by the Family Research Council operates under the belief that problems facing America and this world ultimately require a spiritual solution. This could not be truer because the good news of Jesus Christ is the power of God to salvation.

If our hope is in people, politics, or possessions, we will eventually wind up empty. If however, we place our trust in the only One who can forgive and save us, we will have an unshakable hope and a secure future inheritance.

Are we willing to speak the truth to this generation including what the Bible teaches about sin, repentance, and salvation through faith in Jesus?

The IRS is not a true threat nor is government the ultimate authority! Quite frankly, if a pastor is worried about his non-profit status or being fined, then who is he serving, Caesar or Christ?

For the rest of us, real Christianity cannot be confined behind the walls of any church.

Originally published at Freedom Project Media!

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You may have heard Grace Cathedral, an Episcopal church in San Francisco, held what was called a ‘Beyoncé mass’ last week, and at an evening service where fifty people typically attend, about 900 turned out to hear music by Beyoncé featured.

People are free to worship however they want, but doing this at a church was both confusing and controversial. The Bible teaches Christians to be set apart from the world, not to blend in. And Jesus said if we love the things of this world, God the Father’s love is not in us (1 John 2:15).

The Beyoncé mass was inspired by a guest Reverend, Yolanda Norton, and by an actual class she teaches at San Francisco Theological Seminary: ‘Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible.’ 

Some might argue, ‘It’s just entertainment,’ right? The question is do secular entertainment and unbiblical themes belong in a place of Christian worship where the focus should be to exalt the name of Jesus?

…Good Fight Ministries did an expose on Beyonce and her 2013 Super Bowl halftime show when she mimicked the Hindu goddess Kali Kali – often associated with darkness of death – displayed the devil’s triangle, goat-headed Baphomet, and flashed the Illuminati symbol. You can actually see a transformation during that Super Bowl performance as her face distorts, appearing “fierce” and even masculine at times.

The spirituality behind contemporary feminism often comes in the form of goddess worship, and the fact many have a desire to overthrow the patriarchal structure in society. It is rebellion against God as “Father.”

During the actuaBeyoncé mass, an alternate, feminist perversion of the Lord’s Prayer was printed in the program for attendees to read out loud.

Our Mother, who is in heaven and within us, We call upon your names. Your wisdom come. Your will be done. In all the spaces in which you dwell… (more)

Referring to morality, Reverend Jude Harmon said “conservative Christians see a high wall separating the Church from the world; progressive Christians do not.” Grace Cathedral identifies as progressive and has a web-page noting that it is proud of its LGBT advocacy. Of course they are.

But is ‘Queen Bey’ an appropriate role model for African American women, particularly for women who do seek to follow the Bible’s teachings on holiness, morality, sanctification, and truth? These are not bad people; they’re just wrong. And this is another gospel.

Read the full post at DavidFiorazo.com:

Just a week ago I was in the hospital after having a procedure on my heart and guess what? Here I am, thank God! But not everybody makes it through surgery. In fact, not everybody makes it home from work.

It brings up the question of the ages: What happens to us after we die? Well, that depends.

What if I died on the operating table? First of all, this video wouldn’t exist. My body would’ve been prepared for a funeral, and my spirit would be on its way to be with my Master and Savior in Heaven; the One who created us all.

You may be thinking, ‘how can I be so sure?’ Faith. The Bible offers assurance of eternal life with Christ in Heaven for those who believe.

I realize most people would rather not think about it, but ten out of ten people die. Life comes to an end for people from every country, of all different ages, for various reasons. No one is exempt.

It’s just a matter of time.

Almost everyone has heard the Bible verse, John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus died on the cross to bridge the gap between us and a holy God. Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, and when Jesus returns, He will judge those still living as well as those who have died.

For better context, let’s keep reading. Here’s John 3:17 and 18:

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”

Faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ can save us from our sins.

Prior to my surgery last week, I had to sign a consent form. Even before that, I was told of all the possible risks and complications including a torn heart muscle, punctured lung, torn artery, partial paralysis, stroke during the operation or even death.

The list of possible risks was long, but the absolute greatest risk we can take in this life is denying God by refusing to believe in His Son, Jesus, and not accepting the free offer of the forgiveness of our sins.

Acts 4:12 states: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

And Philippians 2:9-11 says:

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

One day, even those who refused to believe will bow before the King of Kings upon His return.

I was at peace going in to surgery because I trusted Jesus with my life years ago, and knew regardless of the result, it would be a win win. This life is a vapor and for the Christian, we live for Him and to die is gain!

Forgiveness for our sins is mankind’s greatest need. In America, we’ve heard so much about a loving God and rarely hear about His coming judgment. It’s true God is loving, but He is not tolerant of sin in any form.

We’ve also heard the man-made idea God just wants us to be happy, problem-free, and give us favor so that every day’s a Friday and we can live our best life now.

Do you really believe the Bible teaches about personal gain and happiness rather than about denying ourselves and holiness? In addition, if every day were a Friday, let’s just party like it’s 2099. Finally, if we could live our best lives now, here on earth, then why would we need God and what’s Heaven for anyway?

Now, plenty of people think all it takes to go to Heaven is to be a good person, but the question is, ‘good’ by whose standards? Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18:19)

Sure, we can do good things, but can we truly be good without God?

The Bible teaches there is nothing we can possibly do to earn salvation. If we could do it on our own, then Jesus didn’t have to be die for our sins and be raised from the dead. In Ephesians chapter 2 it says,

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

Open your hands and receive the free gift of life. Salvation is not a result of good deeds – but of faith. It’s true God prepared good things for us to do, but – what we do doesn’t save us; it’s who we believe in and why.

So repent of your sins, confess them to God. Trust in Jesus Christ, and tell others this good news, the gospel, the power of God to save us (Romans 1:16). He will be faithful to complete the work He began in us and then, take us to glory when our time here is done.

*Originally published at Freedom Project Media

Historical, prophetic, and archaeological evidence confirms the resurrection of Jesus Christ – and it has absolutely nothing to do with the Easter bunny, chocolate or pastels! 

The Case for Christ movie came out last year based on the outstanding bests-selling book by author and former atheist, Lee Strobel. He was a Chicago Tribune journalist who set out to disprove Christianity and traveled the world in an effort to do so. 

He did meticulous research and interviewed the world’s top historians, theologians, and medical experts while examining the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Disappointed because he accumulated so much evidence supporting the Bible and none to refute the claims of Christianity, he sat in his office one day and a co-worker said to him:

“Lee, when is enough evidence enough evidence?”

His investigation was completed and Strobel became a born-again believer. 

Many historians outside the Bible wrote about Jesus, about His followers, Pontius Pilate, key events and places; they wrote about the crucifixion – including the solar eclipse occurring for three of the hours Jesus was on the cross, a great earthquake, and the persecution of countless disciples of Christ. 

Jewish non-biblical historian, Josephus writes about Jesus in “the Antiquities of the Jews.” Josephus was an eyewitness to much of what he recorded in the first century A.D. Under the rule of Roman emperor Vespasian, Josephus mentions the execution of James and describes him as the brother of Jesus the Christ, and describes Jesus as a wise man and the messiah. 

Sources outside the Bible could be reconstructed this way: 

“Now around this time lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was a worker of amazing deeds and was a teacher of people who gladly accept the truth. He won over both many Jews and many Greeks. Pilate, when he heard him accused by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, (but) those who had first loved him did not cease (believing). To this day the tribe of Christians named after him has not disappeared…” 

And according to Old Testament scholar, Gleason Archer: 

“As I have dealt with one apparent discrepancy after another and have studied the alleged contradictions between the biblical record and the evidence of linguistics, archaeology, or science, my confidence in the trustworthiness of Scripture has been repeatedly verified and strengthened…” 

Those who are open to the truth can research for themselves. You’ll learn about the early dating of the New Testament documents compared to other ancient literary works; overwhelming archaeological evidence, hundreds of fulfilled prophecies listing specific details about Christ, and of course, plenty of eye-witness testimony not to mention the thousands of people through the centuries willing to die for the faith. 

Acts 1:3 says Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles after the crucifixion, by many convincing proofs, AND appeared to them over a period of forty days! What did Luke mean by “Many Convincing Proofs”? 

To answer this question we need to go to the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15. 

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 

Why didn’t the Jews and Romans squash Christianity before it took off? First of all, we just read Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies and that He appeared to more than 500 believers at the same time! 

If this weren’t enough, Paul testified to the fact most of these people were still alive at the time this was written (verse 6) so it could not be refuted! There were far too many eye-witnesses of the risen Christ. 

then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 1 COR. 15:1-7 

Weeks earlier, James was a skeptic. About the half-brother of Jesus, the Bible says “even His own brothers didn’t believe in Him.” But this James became a pillar in the early church and leader of the Jerusalem Council. Tradition holds that James was martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ. 

What changed his mind and radically transformed his life? The truth of the resurrection; Jesus appeared to James personally. Eye-witness testimony is critical in a court of law. 

Others the risen Christ appeared to included Mary Magdalene, the other women, Peter, the disciples including Thomas, Cleopas and one other on the Emmaus road, in Galilee to over 500 people, and to Paul on the Damascus road. These are just those we know of from Scripture. 

Then there’s prophecy: Seven hundred years before Christ was born, the prophet Isaiah said Jesus would be like a lamb led to slaughter, and: 

He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah. 53:45 

Christ offered Himself, voluntarily enduring brutal torture and death, so why do we call it ‘Good’ Friday and ‘Easter’? Because His shed blood washes us clean and because He lives, so will we! Those who believe are assured an everlasting Hope that anchors our souls.

Moreover, on what we know as Palm Sunday, the very gate Jesus rode through on a donkey the week prior to being crucified, the Eastern Gate, will be the gate through which He enters Jerusalem when He returns. 

Who could have ever manufactured such an intricate story – a masterpiece combining thousands of years of historical events, written by at least 40 different authors on three different continents, including prophecies in perfect and specific detail? Who could have created and insured the carrying out of such an elaborate plan in advance? 

It had to be God! Fulfilled prophecy reinforces the truth of Scripture. 

Before His death on the cross, Jesus told His followers over and over what He came to accomplish and how it had to happen. In Luke’s gospel, after Jesus’ resurrection: 

He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:44-48 

Examine the evidence – and believe! 

Vice President Mike Pence says God speaks to him, but some call it mental illness. Oprah says God will speak to her if He wants her to run for president, and liberals cheer. Is this glaring double standard the new normal?

It’s not just Joy Behar. Christianity is generally not tolerated in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. And they’re not shy about it.

But in a recent interview with Ann Silvio on 60 Minutes Overtime, billionaire entrepreneur, Oprah Winfrey said she hasn’t heard God’s call to run for president, “Because if God actually wanted me to run, wouldn’t God kinda tell me?”

And on The View recently, a clip was played of disgruntled White House staffer Omarosa Manigault trashing Mike Pence as an “extreme Christian” who has conversations with Jesus. The View panel then proceeded to mock the VP’s faith.

Behar ignorantly cackled,

“It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”

One of the best responses I’ve heard was from Fox & Friends co-host, Ainsley Earhardt, a Christian herself:

“…she [Behar] doesn’t know Christ. She doesn’t know the joy and the love that He provides to so many people, so it just made me feel sorry for her.”

By the way, Pence didn’t say He heard voices. He said what millions of us believe regarding our relationship with Jesus Christ and how God speaks to us in various ways.

Speaking of double standards, what about Hillary Clinton who apparently still communes with the dead? Even hubby Bill reminded an audience several years back that she hears from Eleanor Roosevelt frequently. I haven’t heard a peep on that, have you?

So, on last week’s episode, after claiming people in Indiana hate the Vice President, View co-host, Sunny Hostin stated:

“When you have a Mike Pence who now puts this religious veneer on things and who calls people values voters, I think we’re in a dangerous situation.”

Dangerous? We’re not talking about ISIS here; not bomb threats, a viral outbreak, rape, or a shooting rampage. These women are referring to the Christian faith.

Mike Pence responded saying “it’s just simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance.”

Aside from religion, on previous episodes, Hostin referred to Pence as incompetent, and Whoopi Goldberg once compared Mike Pence to a member of the KKK who wanted to hang her on a tree. Seriously?

At least one person confronted the twisted dialogue on The View. Meghan McCain said:

“I understand, if you’re a liberal, obviously you have certain problems with Mike Pence. …We see the world through very different veneers.”

Some people do have wrong ideas about what it means to be a Christian. Joy Behar once said Timothy McVeigh was a Christian, and Goldberg actually claimed:

“There have been a lot of horrifying – there have been a lot of monster Christians. Hitler was a Christian.”

Sorry ladies. Wrong on both counts. Do some research.

Remember when Masterpiece Cake Shop owner, Jack Phillips was on The View and said endorsing a same-sex wedding and baking a cake for it would contradict Jesus’ teachings. Speaking for the Lord, Behar declared,

“Oh come on. Jesus would have made the cake.”

And in June 2017, the entire lineup on The View blamed Christians for taking away free contraception. I’m not kidding. Joy Behar asked, “How is it different from the Taliban? Let’s not forget they are trying to keep women in their place, barefoot and pregnant.”

I’m almost speechless.

Back to Oprah for a moment. Over at CBS on Sunday, 60 Minutes devoted 11 minutes to Oprah Winfrey’s conversation with Michigan voters. She asked people about accusations against Donald Trump and, of course, his mental health.

“There have been some members of Congress, including Republicans, questioning his stability and fitness for office. What do you think of that, and do you believe he has the temperament to be president?”

Regarding her “mental illness” comments, Franklin Graham weighed in saying all believers should be alarmed by the anti-Christian rhetoric on The View. He continued,

“For Joy Behar to say that all Christians are mentally ill is like suggesting we need to lock them up. They need to be taken out of society…”

Bigotry against any group is absolutely wrong, but if Joy Behar had said that about gays, feminists, or Muslims, she’d probably be fired on the spot. Criticizing Christ followers however, now gets a pass.

This is what often happens when someone on the left doesn’t understand something, especially spiritual things: they tend to attack or criticize it.

This may explain why many don’t even try cracking open a Bible.

 

Here’s Mike Pence’s first response to the debacle:

“I actually heard that ABC has a program that compared my Christianity to mental illness. And I’d like to laugh about it, but I really can’t. It’s just wrong; and it’s an insult …to the vast majority of the American people who, like me, cherish their faith. My Christianity is the most important thing in my life.”

“But I just think [this] demonstrates just how out of touch some in the mainstream media are with the faith and values of the American people that you could have a major network like ABC permit a forum for invective against religion like that…”

Isn’t it nice to have someone in the White House defending Christians?

At the risk of stating the obvious, for centuries, millions of believers have claimed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He speaks to us in various ways including through Scripture.

We shouldn’t expect unbelievers to have biblical morals. They need the gospel and ironically, they need to talk to Jesus and confess their sins.

The good news is Americans are not only calling out ABC over this, but thanks to Brent Bozell and the Media Research Center, over 25,000 phone calls have been made so far demanding an apology.

Unless advertisers back out of sponsoring The View, I’m not holding my breath. Jesus said,

In this world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have overcome the world. John 16:33

 

 

*A shorter version of this article originally appeared at Freedom Project Media.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Is it too late for Christians to be more discerning? Satan has deployed enemies of truth into our culture and sadly, we have allowed them to influence us. The agenda had been gradual and subtle decades ago, but today the deception is out in the open for all to see – or ignore.

“If you really want to know the truth, it is revealed through Scripture because God is truth. He is the final authority. As you see people’s bad behavior and sin, including open adultery and sexual perversion, being promoted in our culture, remember they need Christ. Even the loud, proud activists. They are not necessarily bad people; they’re just wrong, and the Lord gives each of us the freedom to accept the truth or pay the consequences.

If we are lovers of God and followers of Jesus Christ, we should not approve of and love things of this world more than Him (Romans 12:2, Gal. 1:10). We certainly should not be celebrating what is evil or sinful, and, as we take a stand for what is right, attacks will come.

We must understand the Enemy’s tactics and how Satan, the Father of Lies, suppresses the truth, twisting words and meanings using everyday people to advance his agenda. I’d probably do the same thing if I were him.

Millions of Americans have apparently disregarded the faith they once held dear or have fallen away from the Judeo-Christian values which previously permeated this nation. Many in the church have been duped by the cult of liberalism and political correctness that basically says anything is permissible except biblical Christianity. We have stopped standing against evil and speaking up in defense of the gospel for fear of offending someone, and when Christians are silent, light is squelched and darkness wins.

According to the Bible, Satan’s power over us is already broken, death has been defeated, and the war has been won, thanks to the victory we have in Jesus through His sacrifice, death, and resurrection. The battle and warfare, however, continue – and they will intensify – until the Lord returns.

The cunning schemes of the devil are carried out all around us in this world system over which he has free reign. How does the Enemy work and advance his agenda of lawlessness, chaos, destruction, and unrighteousness? He uses people.

From a rainbow-colored White House to Hollywood hype over the latest perversion, from media selling sexual confusion to corporations proudly promoting political correctness, it is difficult to deny the moral and spiritual decline in America. If there’s any hope of slowing the decaying culture, hypocrisy must be called out, lies must be refuted, and truth must be told.

It is virtually impossible to correct and improve the direction of a country if people, especially Christians, are not convinced there are major problems and that we are way off course. Apathy is another issue killing America, but since we cannot make people care, we need to reach those who may be in the busy, unconvinced, or uninformed categories.

But as we try raising awareness in an intolerant culture that is redefining truth, opposition is guaranteed. The Left is shrewd at using words as weapons to silence those who do not agree with them. Enemies of Christ will not relax or ease up on their agenda, and one of the greatest battles in the country today is being waged by the LGBTQ movement. Author and teacher Peter Heck stated,

“They know the success of their cause depends upon the total abolishment of the Judeo-Christian ethic and the Moral Authority it teaches. That is why any belief that the homosexual lobby is merely a passive group of individuals wanting to peacefully coexist with others who have different beliefs and values is naively absurd.”

The Enemy advances when Christians relax. Though Christianity is growing, particularly in underground churches in persecuted nations around the world, who do you think is having more influence on America today?

The marketers of evil claim they are fighting because of discrimination, oppression, injustice, and inequality. They say they fight for love, acceptance, diversity, equal rights, and freedom. We’re onto their schemes and the tedious talking points trumpeted by the liberal media, the Left, Hollywood, and many within the government education system.

But it is not just those whose new religion is sex, and it’s not just those who claim they just want to “live and let live.” It’s also those who devalue human life and promote moral relativism. Planned Parenthood and advocates of murder cry out, “freedom,” “choice,” “it’s my body, not yours, not the government’s and not God’s.”

The Left is using atheists, communists, socialists, and LGBTQ proponents to blot out God, normalize homosexuality, lie about life in the womb, undermine natural marriage, tear apart the traditional family, create as much chaos as possible, and, well, promote lies instead of truth.

Since we’re talking about methods and people Satan uses to do his work, we should also take a sober look at how our perceptions have changed regarding morality and what has become acceptable or permissible to professing Christians. We must recognize the sin in our own camp and call out hypocrisy in the church when necessary.

We must pursue Christ, invest time in the Word, have accountability and fellowship with true believers, be disciplined, and work harder to build others up while we strengthen our faith and especially our marriages. Jesus told His disciples, If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14:15). Looking at just two of the Ten Commandments, we must acknowledge the epidemic of idolatry and adultery within Christian circles.

We don’t talk often enough about adultery, which is now pretty much accepted by a majority of Americans, including many who claim to be Christians.

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)

Years before the Supreme Court gave its tyrannical opinion ruling against God-ordained natural marriage in 2015, the agenda was well underway to remove America’s moral anchors. What was most disappointing, however, was to observe the influence secularism was and is having on the American church. Today we can see the undeniable fruit of lacking a solid foundation, with increasing numbers of gay ministers and pastors in several churches and denominations.

The rise of apostasy is a sign of the times as more churches and leadership preach accommodation rather than conviction of sin leading to repentance and salvation. If we are not much different from the world, there’s a problem.

The Enemy is advancing through our country, our culture, and even many of our churches because we have surrendered much ground and have not defended the truth. Though there is always hope for a revival – and I have no idea what it might take for this to happen – the light is dimming in and on America, and the clock is ticking.

Many have already been deceived as the Enemy has had success defining the terms of battle, and in many cases, redefining words. The Left has been promoting sin as normal, natural, and healthy, and when Christians speak up, it leads to charges of intolerance. If we do nothing, even more people will call evil good.”

If most Christians continue to avoid these battles, if we are not established in His truth, and if we refuse to defend the faith, society will rapidly deteriorate. If we do not pray to the only living God to give us wisdom, strength, and guidance, we won’t be able to effectively share the gospel, influence culture for Christ and bear good fruit for Him.

*Book excerpt from Redefining Truth: Delusions of Replacing God and Calling Evil Good by author, David Fiorazo

Open pages of bible isolated on white backgroundNow after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”  Mark 1:14-15

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

In 1965 the epic religious movie The Greatest Story Ever Told was released, retelling the story of Jesus Christ from His humble birth and His teachings through the crucifixion and resurrection. The media and critics at the time gave it excellent reviews and some even raved about the brilliant and inspiring, Bible-based production. Times have changed; but the gospel has not.

The gospel, aka the “good news,” is the greatest gift God has given the church, because its message is about Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the greatest treasure God has given the world. Like the apostle Paul, we are to deliver to others what we also received, because people’s salvation depends on it. No one would keep the best news in the universe to themselves – would they?

As committed Christians, our priority in this life must be to consistently believe, live, and deliver to others the message about Jesus Christ and the truth about His life, teachings, death, resurrection, and ascension. For those who have believed and have confessed Jesus as Lord, our ticket is punched and our place in God’s presence is reserved for eternity! Our faith is in Him and our hope is in heaven.

Every person alive today and who has ever lived will stand on one side of eternity or the other. The universe revolves around the most pivotal event in the history of the world: The resurrection of Jesus Christ; the eternal Son, one with the Father and the Spirit, and the exact representation of God’s nature.

… The gospel is not some formula or a simple “sinner’s prayer.” It encompasses the entire Bible as its framework with plenty of background setting the stage. Its truth can transform our lives and its power can save the worst of sinners.

With the increasing attacks on free speech and religious expression in America today, do you see how important it is for us to be able to preach the gospel? This basic freedom is affected by politics, laws, and government. Enemies of Christianity will not relent in their agenda to squelch the mention of sins they endorse, but when push comes to shove, we must obey God rather than man. Speak the truth and leave the results to Him.

Since we have received and accepted the gospel, we must reject the world because the two are in opposition to each other. This can present a problem for many of us. If we love Jesus, we will obey Him (John 14:15), but if we love the world, we will end up following anything else except Him. Because this temporary earth is passing away and we are faced with an eternity that will not wait, the choice should be clear…

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).

Where does Jesus get such authority? It bears repeating Jesus Christ overcame death and the grave and is seated at the right hand of the Father. His tomb is famous for what it does not contain. Even the Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus acknowledged His tomb was empty when they made up lies to try and conceal the resurrection.

Isn’t it interesting in their attempted cover-up, the religious leaders testified to the empty tomb? The story gets even more bizarre, because their lie included instructing the soldiers to say they were asleep instead of guarding the tomb of Jesus. This was not some small conspiracy, because in those days a Roman soldier caught sleeping on duty would have been executed.

Moreover, all other gods or religious leaders who have lived on the earth have burial sites or memorials where their bones remain. We can easily understand how some of their followers hate Jesus, because He is the only true, living God; other gods people worship are false, dead gods.

… The disciples did not have all the resources and technology we have today, and yet the early church grew in numbers day by day even in the midst of threats and persecution.

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20

Please understand regardless of whether or not you have placed your trust in Jesus and bowed before Him acknowledging His majesty, a day is coming in which every human being will bow down before Him and confess this truth – Jesus is Lord.

… Charles H. Spurgeon once stated:

My hope is not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died. My trust is not that I am holy, but that, being unholy, Christ died for me. My rest is, here, not in what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is and must be, – in what Christ did, and is still doing as He stands before yonder throne of glory.

Are we willing to preach this gospel in an increasingly rebellious culture and risk being called intolerant, narrow-minded, or worse? Are we willing to be criticized and misunderstood for delivering the truth Jesus commanded us to speak? Do we love others enough to live what we believe, expose the darkness of sin, and when necessary, confront wayward Christians?

… God’s foreordained solution (Acts 2:23) was to send His only Son, Jesus, to give His life as a ransom for us. By believing, confessing Jesus is Lord, and repenting of our sins, we are saved and have everlasting life with God. May we not muddy up the message that we are saved by grace through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8).

If the Bible is true, then this is why you and I live: To make sure the greatest story ever is told!

 

*This a book excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence. To read the entire chapter, click here:

KardashiansWe love our entertainment in America and it’s so easy to waste a lot of time. But perhaps more important is a fact most people do not seem to realize: how we spend our time affects both soul and spirit, either drawing us closer to God or further away.

It’s the ‘hours of influence’ principle which in early computer days was known as “garbage in, garbage out.” It’s easier to reprogram a computer than it is our minds, which the Bible says we are to renew (Rom. 12:2).

Christians are to be set apart, striving for holiness instead of happiness and godliness instead of ungodly pursuits. We should stand out from the world and shine light in the darkness, not participate in its deeds (Eph. 5:11).

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus:

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

With so much of today’s entertainment falling under the category of soul pollution – much of it promoting what the Bible considers to be sin – it’s no surprise American culture has gone into the gutter.

But this is where people such as Kim Kardashian and other so-called reality TV stars are taking us. This stuff wouldn’t be on television if people didn’t watch it and if advertisers didn’t make a profit.

(Lest you think I’m picking on a few people, there’s just not enough time to write extensively about the entertainment industry, the music and gaming industry, media, corporations, pro sports, and the evils involved.)

Even beyond the stunning popularity of shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, think of their negative influence on young people today: offensive language, style of (and lack of) dress, disrespect for authority, promotion of promiscuity, selfishness, and extremely liberal attitudes about sex and morality.

Not only is immorality celebrated, the message is this: bad behavior gets rewarded.

We have succumbed to the values of Hollywood and the meaninglessness of today’s entertainment, and one day each of us will be held accountable for what we did with the talents God gave us.

To end the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon stated:

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Eccl. 12:13-14)

What matters from a biblical perspective is not necessarily the massive cultural shift in opinions about truth and morality, but the fact these views are more common among professing Christians and religious Americans. I am only surprised at the speed by which these attitudes have infested the Church.

Just fifty-four percent of evangelicals now believe it’s wrong to identify as a different gender; 35 percent of Muslims and only 26 percent of Catholics agree. Religious folks are either not reading, not understanding, or not obeying the teachings in their holy books.

A new national survey was done by LifeWay Research indicating a changing worldview that is becoming more and more secular. The poll reveals an increasing percentage of Americans no longer believe in right and wrong, and don’t think there’s absolute truth.

Sixty percent believe that it is not morally wrong for individuals to self-identify with a gender that is different than their natural biological sex. From this we can conclude a majority of Americans now reject the fact that a Creator (God) gave them a specific gender that cannot be changed…

 

Read more here:

judge not signThe phrase ‘Judge ye not’ is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misapplied biblical concepts.

Rarely does anyone want to confront sin, and rarely does a sinner want to be confronted. This presents a problem.

As the avalanche of immorality in America continues consuming many professing Christians, the idea of judging has become even more unpopular. You and I have choices to make regarding how to deal with the issue of sin in our culture and sadly, there are believers who think we should never mention the behavior of others.

In that case, how are we supposed to share the gospel of Christ, repentance from sin, and the need for forgiveness from God and eternal salvation?

Rather than address sin invading the church, we open the door to even more compromise by accommodating immoral behavior because we don’t want to offend anyone. But is this what Jesus taught?

“Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:4-5

Jesus used every opportunity – including death – to warn others. I strongly suggest we not exercise our right to be silent.

How can we turn a sinner back to God if we don’t make a judgment and say anything about sinful behavior? James wrote:

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20

The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth not to associate with people who claimed to be Christians, but were living sinful lives (1 Corinthians 5:9). He urged the committed believers to judge those within the church and let God judge those who are outside (1 Corinthians 5:12-13).

So let’s be very clear on this: We are not to judge unbelievers; we are to share the gospel with them, because without Christ and the Bible they have no moral compass. We are instructed to judge fellow believers as long as we do it with a spirit of humility and love, not hypocritically.

There are two types of judgment in the Bible: krino judgment is to “try, convict and punish”; anakrino is to “scrutinize, investigate and determine”.

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”  John 12:47-48

The word Jesus uses here for judge is krino: “to try, convict and punish”.

“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.1 Corinthians 4:3-4

The word for judge in this verse is anakrino: “to scrutinize, investigate and determine”Anakrino is used 14 times in the New Testament in these ways: examine, question, discern, judge, account.

Nine times out of ten, people use the words, ‘Judge ye not’ completely out of context. Even those with limited knowledge of the Bible and Christianity have either heard or have used these words themselves. This has become laughable in a culture today that promotes the idea of tolerance, but is quite intolerant when it comes to biblical Christianity, morality, and absolute truth.

Moral relativism seems to be the new law of the land.  Everyone determines their own morality, and when man decides what is right or wrong, it becomes easier to defend the indefensible. After all, if the Bible does not apply to every person, well – then anything goes!

The people of Israel knew all about this and the result is always lawlessness.

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25

In the Old Testament, the God of creation often judged the people of Israel, and either blessed or punished nations depending on their obedience or rebellion. After Jesus Christ conquered the last enemy, death, by His resurrection, God the Father transferred all power and authority to His Son (Matthew 28:18). The deity and authority of Jesus are non-negotiable facts in the true Christian faith, and the Bible teaches Jesus will one day judge all humanity.

As believers, we have the Holy Spirit to help us discern good and evil, and the love of God should move us to compassion; to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ and to encourage and warn fellow believers entangled in sin.

This may seem obvious and elementary to some, but in today’s culture of hyper-tolerance it must be repeated: it is necessary to make moral judgments.

First, no one is without sin, and if someone says they do not sin, they are simply fooling themselves (1 John 1:8). Assuming you and I have confessed our sins and have received God’s forgiveness, we know how awful it feels to commit a sin and be distant from God, so we should help others be reconciled to Him.

Let’s be clear on another point: only God knows what’s in a person’s heart. All we can do is judge behavior according to the teachings of Scripture.

The concept taught in Matthew 7 is to judge yourself or examine yourself first, and then you will see clearly to address someone else’s sin. Some folks seem to think Jesus said never attempt to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (mention their sin).

In his commentary on this important teaching, Pastor Joe Schimmel of Good Fight Ministries wrote:

To grasp the true context, let’s take a closer look at Matthew 7:1-5:

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

If you have never read past verse 1, then perhaps you are seeing the true meaning of this verse for the first time. Notice that Jesus did NOT ever say, don’t judge – period. He exhorts us to judge with righteous judgment in John 7:24 and here in Matthew 7:1-5. He says first be sure you’re right with God before pointing out someone else’s sin, thus granting the right to judge. The correct understanding of Matthew 7:1 is that simple! Verse 5 clarifies and exposes the skeptic’s erroneous understanding of “Do not judge”, by giving the green light, if you will, to judge… so as long as it is not done in a hypocritical manner.

God hates sin, and He calls you and me to shine our light and expose the darkness of sin. Naturally then, as we continue to witness unrestrained immorality in our culture, it should grieve our hearts and make us angry. That anger, however, should be directed toward the enemy and the evil of sin, not toward those who are entangled in its web. They need our prayers.

The dilemma remains: How do we bring someone back who has wandered from the truth? Some Christians actually think that instead of pointing out a person’s sin we should let our actions speak. Okay, roll the dice and let me know how that works out.

It is true sanctification – becoming more like Jesus Christ and less like the world – is a lifelong process. That being said, mature Christians should be held to a stricter standard than new believers. If we are not ‘walking the talk,’ we have no business telling someone else to repent of their sin.

In a perfect church in a perfect world, the person you approach concerning their sin would respond “Oh, wow, you’re right and I appreciate you telling me. I sure can’t argue with what the Bible teaches. I’m going to take it to God right now and ask His forgiveness, thanks so much for caring.” (OK, stop chuckling to yourself.) There must have been someone through the centuries of Christendom who responded with an open heart like this, no?

Pride is an ugly thing and we all deal with it at times.

Though most Christians may have good intentions, some choose to justify depravity by arguing against judging rather than promote biblical Christianity – and it is mind boggling.

Others are in the “hey, we just need to pray for them” camp. Okay, let’s pray for them. Then what? Too many people think that commenting on someone’s sin is never acceptable.

This accommodation of sin and refusal to judge and preach repentance – the main message of Jesus and John the Baptist – is a result of our silence and has led to our present culture of compromise. The sad thing is many Christians have been duped into believing that being silent is more loving, when, in fact, the exact opposite is true!

Our concern should be to encourage others in the faith knowing we are all sinners ‘working out our salvation. Galatians 6:1 states:

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Restoration is a good thing! But how can we restore a sinner if we cannot even address the sin? It is foolishness; it’s worldliness to think this way.

Believers are obligated to live by the light of God’s Word. The apostles refer to their former condition (before Christ) as darkness, because those living in sin cannot see where they are going. In the Zondervan Matthew Henry Commentary, Ephesians 5:11 (exposing darkness) is explained:

We must have no fellowship (association, communion, participation) with sin or sinners. Sinful works are works of darkness. These works of darkness are fruitless deeds; there is nothing gained by them in the long run, whatever profit is pretended by sin, it will by no means balance the loss. We must therefore have nothing to do with these fruitless deeds. If we share with others in their sin, we must expect to share with them in their plagues. Rather than being partners with them, we must expose them. We must witness against the sins of others, and endeavor to convince them of their sinfulness in our words; but especially by the holiness of our lives. Reprove their sins by abounding in the contrary duties.

Making judgments in a biblical manner doesn’t need to be confusing if we understand God’s word. But we are in a time in America when the church is afraid to offer a moral judgment on anything. One thing is certain; we had better examine ourselves first and make sure we are true to the faith and Word of Jesus Christ!

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

Thanks to the Holy Spirit, Christians have spiritual discernment nonbelievers do not have access to, particularly related to biblical truth. In 1 Corinthians 2:15, the apostle Paul says those who are spiritual should judge all things. One of the many promises from God is that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. God gives us a greater capacity for applying His wisdom and discernment to everyday life.

Christians are instructed to examine everything carefully and cling to the good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We do this by holding all things up to Scripture, the ultimate standard and truth detector.

The Word of God encourages Christians to remain in Him in order to produce good fruit in our lives. But how do you determine the good fruit from bad fruit? The Apostle Paul lists the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Fruit is that which comes from our actions and words, hopefully pointing others to Christ and influencing our culture for godliness. Similar to Matthew 7, the gospel of Luke includes the same lessons from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which he warns believers about false prophets and teachings, as well as about judging wrongly. Luke 6:43-44 states:

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.

You and I will be judged by what our lives produce, whether good or bad. This judgment will include not only what we did and said, but also what we approved of and did not say. Each of us will be held accountable for our actions, words, and lack thereof on judgment day.

Silence never saved anybody.

Do you really believe in your heart that Christians should have no input in matters of moral importance in our culture?

A religion professor at Charleston Southern University, Peter Beck stated:

I am greatly grieved by those who call themselves “Christians” yet constantly cover for the very wickedness and sin that they are supposed to shun and flee from. They embrace the very sinful people who have clearly transgressed God’s commandments, laws, precepts, directives, and requirements …You must understand, my friends that while you are so concerned with … creating an environment of love and peace, [lasting] peace is neither possible nor probable without the end coming first. Jesus Christ is the only One who can and will bring us eventual peace … when God sends Him back to earth as the King of Kings to reign forever and ever!

If we love those who are in bondage to any sin, we will tell them about the forgiveness of Jesus Christ and encourage them to repent. A Spirit-filled Christian with the proper love and motives will seek God’s approval, not the world’s approval.

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul writes: All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable … for correction … Wait, “correction”? How can we as Christians correct anyone if we are not supposed to make a judgment on right or wrong? This misguided argument can make a person’s head spin – and we’ve all heard it. God’s correction is good and sometimes He uses other people in the church to get through to us.

The church is in some ways a hospital for those who know they are sick.

Pastor John MacArthur said:

A church that does not discipline a sinning member is like a person who has good reason to believe he has cancer but who refuses to go to a doctor – because he either does not want to face the problem or does not want to face the treatment. If he waits too long his whole body will be permeated with the disease and it will be too late for treatment to do any good. No church is healthy enough to resist contamination from persistent sin in its midst.

We also need to be wise and discerning about church leaders and teachers. Your pastor or ministry leaders are human, and they are just as susceptible to sin and temptation as you and I.

Throughout the Bible are warnings about those who purposely stretch or twist the gospel, apparently to deceive and lead others astray. Matthew 7:15-16 states:

Beware the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves, you will know them by their fruits.

John writes to Christians in 1 John 4:1 saying:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

The better we know the Word of God, the more we will be able to discern what is ungodly. If we know the truth, then we will be able to expose a counterfeit.

Another response you may have heard when reacting to a Christian’s judgment might be, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” Implying that Jesus taught us not to judge is ludicrous. This verse is also misused and often taken out of context.

The passage in John 8:3-7 is about a couple caught in the act of adultery. It is interesting to me the Pharisees brought only the woman to Jesus. If she was “caught in the act,” then the man must also have been caught. Where was the man? The Law of Moses required both the man and the woman to be stoned to death, but the religious leaders didn’t care about technicalities. They had a different agenda: It was a set-up to test the Lord Jesus.

Notice Jesus didn’t tell them not to judge; He knew the wicked hearts of the Pharisees as they confronted Him with accusations. Jesus responded with, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her (vs 7).” Since they all had sinned, each of them dropped their rocks and walked away one by one (John 8:9). The Lord then acknowledged her sin, forgave her, and warned her to go and sin no more.

Andrew Murray said:

“To convince the world of the truth of Christianity, it must first be convinced of sin. It is only sin that renders Christ intelligible.

What a good juxtaposition. The very truth about sin can be what leads to understanding the solution God provided through the Savior. Apart from explaining sin’s consequences, the crucifixion makes no sense.

Francis Schaeffer believed Christians in general are avoiding the cultural battle and allowing its downward slide. In his book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, Schaeffer wrote:

It is my firm belief that when we stand before Jesus Christ, we will find that it has been the weakness and accommodation of the evangelical group on the issues of the day that has been largely responsible for the loss of the Christian ethos which has taken place in the area of culture in our country over the last forty to sixty years.

Full obedience to the Word of Christ obligates us to speak. We are to be on the lookout as watchmen on the wall because if God judged Israel for not repenting, how do you suppose He will deal with America?

Culture reflects the strength or weakness of the church which reflects the strength or weakness of individual Christians. In Ezekiel’s case, there was a specific message the Lord instructed him to preach and yet, the principle applies to believers today:

At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself. Ezekiel 3:16-21

How many more warnings do we need in order to repent and/or get others to turn back to Jesus as well? Sometimes we need stern warnings and other times we need to be the ones speaking up to warn others. God works through us to reach people, and those whom He finds faithful will receive their reward.

You never know, one day someone may thank you for caring enough to tell them the truth.

God will make the final judgments on all creation. We are His messengers, and our goal is to point people to Jesus Christ – and in many cases, back to Christ!

For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. John 5:26-27