Seeker-Sensitive?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 10:20 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Praise the I AM!” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 5 (ESV).

You Are Arrogant! (vv. 1-2)

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

Much of today’s modern church here in America has gone way beyond this. Sin is barely even mentioned anymore, and/or it is placated (appeased). The cross of Christ has definitely been emptied of its power. It has been reduced to merely a get-out-of-jail-free card and a free ride into heaven for when we die, i.e. for when we leave this earth. Few preachers preach death to sin anymore, but rather they picture God’s grace as a free license to continue in sin while claiming heaven as their eternal destiny, and the gospel as God’s forgiving of our sins, but absent of any true repentance or commitment to follow the Lord Jesus in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives. They don’t preach the gospel as Jesus and his NT apostles taught it, because it is an offense to the people (customers) they are trying to bring into their “churches,” i.e. into their human-based businesses, and marketed as such.

Many of those who call themselves ministers of the gospel have been emasculated by the dilution of the gospel, which has taken place in much of today’s modern church. They no longer preach in the power of the Holy Spirit and with the conviction of the cross and its message, but they give out feel-good messages (or talks) which will gain them favor with the world (their customer base). Their “seeker-sensitive” approach to doing church looks to please the flesh of humans so that the world will feel comfortable and at home in the “church,” and will want to come back. But, the church is not a business, or a corporation, or an organization of men for the purpose of attracting the world. The church is the body of believers in Jesus who are supposed to meet together for their strengthening and maturity in Christ so that they can go out into the world with the gospel of our salvation.

Since the cross of Christ has been emptied of its power in most of these “churches” (i.e. businesses), the body of Christ has been dumbed-down into believing Satan’s lies in place of God’s truths concerning sin, salvation, repentance, forgiveness and obedience. Probably over half of these preachers, according to studies which were conducted, are addicted to pornography, so it is no wonder they are not only not preaching about the evils of sin and the requirement of repentance, but they will not follow the teachings of scripture on how to deal properly with unrepentant sin, especially sexual sin, which is rampant in today’s culture within the church. So, they will ignore this teaching or will find ways around it, because they are caught in the web of sinful addiction themselves.

For His Salvation (vv. 3-5)

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Wow! If you preached something like this today from the pulpit you would probably be removed from your position, or at least you would be accused of being hateful, bigoted, bitter, resentful, unforgiving, and/or revengeful, etc. Forgiveness is being taught as a pat on the back, telling the person they are not so bad, or that Jesus delights in them, even when they sin, and that he is pleased with them no matter what they do. Many are teaching such things as this, so rather than preach conviction of sin, they are getting those who profess the name of Jesus to just recite who they are in Christ, even while they are steeped in sin and rebellion against God/against Christ. No one wants to be the “bad guy” anymore. They want people to like them, so they tell them what will make them feel good. And, they call this “love.”

But, it is not love. It is hate. And, it is selfish. And, it is cruel, because it leaves the hearer still steeped in bondage to sin with no way out. Not many preachers, today, will go to such lengths as what is being taught here in order to rescue a professing Christian from the depths of sin addiction, and to deliver him to walk in purity and righteousness and in the power of God over his life. They would rather be buddies with him (or her), and laugh together, and hang out together, and then pass the person off to Christian counseling, which may or may not help at all, so that they are relieved of their responsibility to confront sin and to make the professor of Christ be held accountable for his sin, and hopefully be brought to repentance so he (or she) can be restored to full fellowship with God; with Jesus Christ.

A Little Leaven (vv. 6-8)

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Not only is it unloving and unkind to leave a person who professes the name of Jesus in his sins, because no one wants to be the “bad guy” in confronting sin and calling for repentance, but it is detrimental to the church, the body of Christ, as a whole. And, this could not be more obvious than it is in today’s modern “seeker-sensitive” congregations where sin is barely mentioned, let alone called what it is, and where repentance is not preached at all. In fact, sin is often glorified in the church gatherings, even from the pulpit. Sensuality abounds in stage productions meant to draw in large crowds of people, and where movie clips are used for sermon illustrations, even if the movie itself contains sexual scenes, immorality and adultery.

So, the majority of these modern church congregations are totally worldly. There is not much distinguishable difference between the church and the people of the world at all anymore, for they pretty much all engage in the same junk; in the same sins. Casual conversations rarely revolve around Christ, his word, or godly living, but they center on the world and all that it has to offer us. Many professing Christians spend hours upon hours engrossed in TV shows, movies, video games, social media, the internet, or in listening to secular music, much of which is filled with the immorality and the values, ideals, goals and objectives of this sinful world. If you attempt to share with them a scripture, or a spiritual song, or a lesson you are learning from your times of personal worship with the Lord, many of them will consider you odd, out of touch with reality, or just plain weird or crazy.

Our Associations (vv. 9-13)

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

I don’t know of any church congregation in America who would actually follow this directive. If any do, I would suspect it is rare indeed. The point of this, I believe, is that we, as the church body, should not invite into our fellowship those who profess the name of Jesus but who are living sinful lifestyles, and who are unwilling to repent, for they will infect the whole body. I believe the point, also, is that such associations would be, in some sense, providing consent and approval to the individual who confesses the name of Jesus, but who is living just the opposite. And, it would only help to further their rebellion and sin against God, since no repentance would be required or enforced. As well, it would give a message to the world that God does not require repentance, and that being a Christian is just something we claim, but we don’t actually have to live what we say we believe. Yet, it is a slap in the face to God, and makes what Jesus did for us a farce.

It is not enough, though, just to admit sin. Repentance has to do with leaving the sin behind us and turning in the opposite direction, and following our Lord in obedience. Believing in Jesus means death to sin and living to righteousness. We don’t clean up the old self. We eradicate the old self, by the power and working of the Holy Spirit, and God replaces the old self with a new self, now in Christ, and dedicated to living to his righteousness and walking in his truth (See: Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 2:20). If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness (sin), we are liars, and we do not live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6). But, if we walk in the light, as HE (God) is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses (purifies) us from all sin (1 Jn. 1:7).

Praise the “I AM!”
An Original Work / February 24, 2012

Jesus, my Savior, full of compassion,
Glorious in power, mighty in strength;
Gracious Redeemer, mighty deliv’rer,
My heart adores Him. Praise to His name!
Perfect salvation my Lord provided
When He died for my sins on a tree;
Crucified my sins; conquered in vict’ry,
When He arose, so I could be free!

I am so thankful for His forgiveness;
Grateful that He chose to pardon me,
Giving me new life full in His Spirit,
So I can serve Him; His servant be!
Walking in daily fellowship with Him,
Obeying Him whate’er He commands;
Forsaking my sins, living in freedom,
I will endure with Him to the end!

He gives me peace and calm reassurance
In times of sorrow, or in distress.
His grace is sure, and oh, how sufficient
To meet me in my need for sweet rest.
Oh, how I love You, Jesus, my Savior.
My heart longs for You where’er I am.
Your word is precious; speaks to my spirit;
Brings comfort, healing. Praise the “I AM!”

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