Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Living in Sin

When Do We Know They Are Not One of Us?

1 John 2:19 is a cornerstone passage for those who hold to unconditional eternal security and even those who hold to perseverance of the saints.  This verse is said to teach that those who go out from us (from Christians) proves they were never said to begin with.  I differ with this view in that I see 1 John 2:19 in context speaking about false apostles or in this case antichrists who claimed to be apostles like John but their teachings proved they were not apostles.  They went out from among us (apostles) but they were not of us (apostles); for if they had been of us (apostles), they would have continued with us (apostles).  But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us (apostles).

My question here is when do we know they are not one of us from the eternal security view?  At what point can we declare, “Never saved to begin with?”  I have even heard many exponents of eternal security teach that a person might be living in sin and the Lord will either discipline them to bring them back to Christ (Hebrews 12:3-11) or He will even allow them to die before they completely apostatize (1 Corinthians 5:4-5; 11:29-31).  I have heard eternal security teachers teach that a person living in sin can still be saved and so we are not to judge someone harshly.  They point to the examples of David or Samson as proof that a saint can live in gross sin and still be a child of God.

I have often said that eternal security leads to antinomianism.  How can it not?  The idea that we must be holy is not a true teaching among eternal security teachers.  Yes they preach holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16) but they often make statements contrary to holiness teaching such as “we all sin every day” and they view Romans 7 as the highest form of Christian living.  Further, they teach that sin has no effect on the believer so they ignore the Bible’s call to forsake sin (1 John 2:1-2).  They instead teach that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus even though we are warned over and over again not to get a hard heart, not to go back to living in sin, not to forsake Christ.  We are called to perseverance but these teachers teach preservation of the sinner.

This is not a perfection teaching.  I am not advocating that Christians are sinless or that we can obtain sinless perfection though some in the past have advocated such a position.  The Trinitarian hero Athanasius of Alexandria held to perfection.  He taught that saints of God in the Bible had obtained such a state such as Job or Noah.  While I am not advocating that position, I simply point out that Athanasius is viewed as a hero today despite his teaching on perfectionism.  I believe that Christians do sin.  I know.  I sin.  I don’t wake up and seek sinning.  I don’t want to sin.  I don’t try to sin.  But I have sinned.  I am thankful for 1 John 1:9 (which would be pointless if sin has no power over the disciple of Christ).

My point here is not to rail on eternal security.  I know godly people who believe in this doctrine.  I have also known people who used the doctrine for their own flesh.  I have known men who justified pornography by claiming eternal security.  I have known men who committed adultery by claiming eternal security.  I have seen churches ignore church discipline because its possible that the sinning person is truly saved and just needs the Lord’s discipline to come back to faith.  I have seen people “walk the isle” and say “the sinner’s prayer” and be told that they are saved and bound for heaven and are now eternally secure no matter what.  I have heard preachers tell people that they can even become an atheist and God will drag them into heaven kicking and screaming that they don’t want to go.

My point here is to simply ask the probing question, “When is someone deemed never saved to begin with?”  The lines seem blurred.  You could read Revelation 21:7-8 and ask a person who holds to eternal security if these people are not going to heaven and they will likely say, “No they are not.”  “But what about saints who do these things?  Are they still saved or are they never saved to begin with?”  “Well that is tough.  Only God knows a persons heart.  We can’t judge them.  We must leave that to God.”  “So are these people who do the things in Revelation 21:8 saved?”  “No.”  “But you just said that people who do these things might be saved?”  “Well yes we can but we shouldn’t and if we do, it might show that we are not saved to begin with.”  “Can you do these things if you wanted to?” “Yes I could I suppose.”  “Would that make you lost?”  “No because I am eternally secure!”  “Well would that prove you are not saved to begin with?”  “No I am eternally secure!”  “But what about others who do these things, why are they not eternally secure?”  “They possibly are!  God knows!”  “But you said that Revelation 21:8 are lost since they go to hell.”  “Yes they are but Christians can do these things too.”  “Should Christians do them?”  “No” “Why does it matter if they are eternally secure as you claim?”  “Because if a person does them they might not be truly saved.”  “But what about their eternal security? It doesn’t sound very eternal nor secure?”  “Those who are saved will persevere until the end for God keeps them but if they don’t persevere, they were never saved to begin with.” “And if a person does the things in Revelation 21:8 are they proving they are not saved to begin with if they claim to be a disciple?”  “Well only God knows.”

Do you see the circle of eternal security?  It doesn’t produce the assurance of one’s salvation.  I have often argued that if a person is seeking Christ, we have no fear (1 John 4:18).  Jesus said that if we abide in His teachings, we are His disciples (John 8:31-32).  As disciples, we have no fear (Romans 8:38-39).  Those who abide in Christ know that He is their high priest, their salvation, their security (2 Peter 1:10-11).  I fear the Lord because He is holy God (Romans 11:20-22).  I stand in awe of His grace toward me (Romans 6:1-4).  His grace teaches me to hate my sin (Titus 2:11-12).  God’s grace doesn’t give me a license for sinning (Jude 4).

True security is found in persevering in Christ.  True security is not found in teaching people that sin has no power over them.  We must teach the people of God to hate their sins, forsake their sins, confess their sins, and examine themselves (2 Corinthians 12:21-13:5).  Holiness is the heart of God (Hebrews 12:14).  We are holy in Christ and being made holy though Christ (Hebrews 10:10, 14).

May the Lord help us all to hate our sins, forsake our sins, kill our sins, and confess our sins.  Our sovereign Father is faithful to help us (1 Corinthians 10:13) and He is faithful to forgive us when we sin (1 John 1:9).  May we run daily to the Lord Jesus and remain faithful to Him always.

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We Never Cease to Need the Gospel

I have written before on sinning every day.  Do we sin everyday?  Can we stop sinning?  These are all for another post and another debate.  Many disciples feel that we cannot but sin every single day of our lives.  They believe that we sin in word, thought, or deed each and every day.  For them, they often mean that they don’t love God like they should (Matthew 22:37) nor do they love their neighbor as they love themselves (Matthew 22:39) and therefore they sin every day.  They would also assert that they do not pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) nor do they evangelize at all times (Matthew 28:19) nor do they give to the poor at all times (Matthew 6:2) nor do they study the Bible at all times (Psalm 119:11).  Simply put: they do not love God enough nor as worthy as He deserves.

I can see their point.  But sadly, this view is often taken to further extremes and these sins of omission are often channeled into sins of commission as well.  In other words, the lack of loving God perfectly is seen as the same sin as viewing pornography.  After all, sin is sin!  I can’t help but sin since this is all I can do.  At my best, my righteousness is still filthy before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6) so why strive for righteousness when I can’t obtain it in the first place.  My best efforts are meaningless before a holy and righteous God.  And so I am just stuck with sinfulness.  It is who I am.  It is what I do.

And that view leads to an antinomian view of the Christian life in which sin dominates and the Lordship of Christ is reduced to Him submitting even to our sins.  Even the precious blood of Jesus (while certainly able to wash away our sins) is not able to conquer our sins.  I mean a few do get “victory” over some sins but they still sin in word, thought, and deed every single day.  Before God, they still are sinners whether they are living in adultery or failing to study their Bibles like they should.

Perhaps in the future I will take a look at these false teachings about our sinfulness and about sanctification.  I fully believe that Jesus is able to deliver His saints.  Matthew 1:21 promises that His very name would mean “the Lord saves” and He will save His people from their sins.  While I fully acknowledge that His blood is sufficient to wash away our sins (Matthew 26:28), I would go further and say that His blood empowers us to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:15-16).  The gospel always leads first to forgiveness of our sins and then toward holiness in this process of biblical sanctification (2 Corinthians 7:1).  Hebrews 10:14 is clear on this:

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

The perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus is sufficient to fully save the sinner (Romans 10:4, 13) but this is just the beginning.  The Lord also sanctifies His people as Hebrews 10:14 promises.

But none of us, not one of us ever comes to a place where we don’t need the gospel.  Some think that the gospel is only for the sinners.  No!  It is for the child of God as well.  We need the gospel.  The precious truths of 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:1-9; 1 Timothy 1:15-16; etc. are true for the child of God.  The truth of Hebrews 4:14-16 is a truth I often pray.  I need the work of Christ always to be saved.  I need His intercession to remain saved (Hebrews 7:25).  I need the blood of Jesus to continue to cleanse me from sin (1 John 1:7).  I fall nowhere close to the holy perfection that God demands (Romans 3:23) and thus I need the work of Christ to stand before a holy God (Romans 3:24-27).  I never cease to need the gospel.  I need to preach the gospel to myself always.

At the end of the day, I need the work of Christ.  I know that the world needs to hear the gospel (Romans 10:14-17) but I need to hear the truth of the gospel as well (Romans 1:16-17).  I need to be reminded that I have not arrived, that I always need the grace of God to overcome.  My pride likes to think that I have arrived but I have not.  I am still seeking.  Still hungry to know this God who saved me.  I am still longing to be like Jesus in that I say or do (Colossians 3:17; 1 John 2:6).  I despise sin but the gospel shows me that my sins are forgiven and that I can overcome sin by the grace of God (Titus 2:11-12).  The gospel shows me that Christ is faithful, sufficient, and He is my victory, my holiness, my salvation, my power to overcome.  Christ is the one that I need to focus on and not myself or my works.  They are full of holes but Christ is perfect and He is my gospel.

In every area of my life I need the gospel.  I need the gospel over my marriage, how I raise my children, how I spend my money.  I need the gospel over my home, over my job, and over my reading.  I need the gospel in my habits.  I need the gospel in my talks with the lost.  I need the gospel for forgiveness of my sins.  I need the gospel when I am driving my truck.  I never cease to need the precious truths of the gospel.  Never.

I pray that you, my reader, hunger to know the gospel as well.   The gospel is not abstract.  It is not rules.  The gospel is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ, the living One (Revelation 1:17-18).  The gospel is not memorizing steps to peace.  The gospel is the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is my longing, to know Christ (Philippians 3:8-11).  I pray that I make my boast in the cross of Christ alone (Galatians 6:14).  His cross is my cross.  His death is my death.  His resurrection is my resurrection.  I need Him every hour!

Why We Sin

We sin because we want to sin.  Satan does not make us sin.  God does not make us sin.  We sin because we want to sin.  James 1:12-15 is clear on this:

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Notice verse 14.  We are enticed by our own desires.  Our desires of the flesh want to rebel against God and His Word (1 John 3:4).  Our flesh wants to be Romans 1:18-32.  Our flesh wants to ignore the commands of the Lord and live for ourselves.  We deceive ourselves and think that our obeying our flesh will produce joy and happiness and contentment but it only produces death (Romans 6:23).

In our day it is common to want our sins to be legalized.  Whether it be sexual sins or drugs, we believe that if the government will just make it legal in the eyes of the law of men then this will sooth our guilty conscience and we will have peace in our sins.  This will never be!  God has given us a conscience to warn us that we are in rebellion against Him.  Every person on the face of the earth has a conscience from God and every single person, apart from the grace of God, knows that we have violated His just laws and have rebelled against Him just as Adam and Eve did in Genesis 3.  We know that we are guilty before a holy God and we know that we are doing things worthy of death but we believe that we should have a “right” to our sins and no one should tell us that we are sinning (not even God Himself).  This will not bring peace.

Peace will only come when we repent.  Romans 5:1 assures us of this peace through Jesus Christ.  Jesus died to take away our sins (1 Peter 3:18).  He shed His own blood in our place (Isaiah 53:5-6) and through His blood alone can we find peace with God (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 2:8-9).  His blood alone is able to wash away all our sins (Isaiah 1:16; Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7).  We must repent before a holy God which is turning away from sin toward God (Matthew 3:8; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30-31; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10).  Repentance is the will of God (2 Peter 3:9).  Turning from sin is the will of God (1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:23-24; 1 John 2:1-2).  By His grace alone are we able to turn away from our sins (Titus 2:11-12).  Our flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:7) but by the power of the Holy Spirit we can turn away from sin and repent (John 16:8-11).

I despise sin!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/14/2014 at 8:43 PM

Positive Confession and Cheap Grace

I am noticing that the charismatic world is beginning to see a rise in cheap grace in the form of positive confession.  For many years, positive confession was the heretical notion that we need to speak only positive words and that God would in turn take the fruit of our lips and create into reality what we are confessing.  Much has written on this already but the best book I have read on the subject was A Different Gospel by D.R. McConnell.  McConnell shows how the roots of the positive confession movement come not from Scripture but from cults.

I have seen up close the positive confession movement.  I have been around people who would not confess they were sick (when it was obvious they were).  I have known a church that split when the pastor “confessed” that a brother in the church was sick and needed prayer for healing.  I know of people who would never confess anything negative despite ignoring reality.  For instance, I have known women who would confess “my child is saved by grace and is a child of the King” despite being a complete pagan.  I have seen wives “confess” that their husbands were godly men despite the fact that they were lost pagans.  I have seen churches who weekly have a  positive confession time where the crowd chants “I am…” and they fill in the blanks with “blessed”, “healed,” “adopted,”  “favored,” and the rest.  I remember when positive confession people were eating up Neal Anderson’s books because of his emphasis on seeing ourselves as God sees us and not as we see us.

The new move among positive confession folks is to now confess that they are holy and pure and blameless and loved by God despite living in sin.  They can break the laws of the land or watch ungodly movies or listen to ungodly music or do whatever they desire because they are “loved by God” and “holy in Christ.”  This new form of antinomianism is different however in that these folks will come together to pray for healing or for people to be blessed by God and despite living in sin all week long, they believe, because of their positive confession, that they are still accepted in the Beloved.  They see no problem with abiding in sin but claiming Christ.

Scripture, however, is clear on this issue of holiness.  The Bible is not silent on this subject.  Just read the words of John in 1 John 3:4-10:

4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Jesus Himself said in John 8:34-36:

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Notice that if we practice sin, we are slaves of sin.  John says in 1 John 3:6 that no one in Him keeps on sinning.  In fact, 1 John 2:1 is clear that it is the will of God for us not to sin.  1 John 2:1 reads, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

2 Corinthians 7:1 tells us what the true disciple of Jesus is to aim for:

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

I like how the NASB translates it better:

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

We can confess all day long that we are this or that but if our lives are marked by sin and rebellion, we are not saved.  Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 7:21-27 of who His followers are and who are not.  Those who claim to be His disciples will obey His Word.  Those who rebel are not His (Titus 1:16).

Jude the Apostle warns us in Jude 4 about these apostates who try to turn God’s grace into a license for sinning when he wrote:

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

We must reject any doctrine that does not lead us toward holiness and to exalting Christ.  Any teaching that exalts man or the flesh or allows for ongoing sinning without a call to repentance is not the gospel.  The gospel is a call to repent (Acts 2:38; 17:30-31; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10).  The gospel is a call to holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16).  The gospel is a radical transformation wrought in us by the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Thus when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us, He, by nature of His presence, begins to make us holy and pure (Philippians 2:12-16; Hebrews 10:10, 14).  Our aim as children of God is to be like Jesus (1 John 2:6) in all that we say or do (Philippians 4:8-9).

No doubt there is a place for rejoicing that the gospel is not about what we do as much as it is on what Jesus has done.  We will never come to a place where we don’t need His grace or His mercy to help us be holy.  The gospel shouts to us that Jesus is our salvation and we are righteous in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) but we also realize that sanctification is a synergistic work where we allow the Spirit of God to help us to be holy (Galatians 5:16-17).  We know that we can’t be holy apart from Him but as we abide in Him, He helps us to be holy (Romans 8:12-14).  The reality of our holiness is that we are holy through faith in Christ but we are also being made into His image by His grace (Titus 2:11-12).  The gospel declares that I am accepted before God through faith (Romans 5:1) but the gospel also works in me what is pleasing to God (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/20/2013 at 2:18 PM

Hatred for Sinning

I can’t understand how anyone can not hate sinning.  Whether it be in their own lives or in our world, how can one look at sin and wink at it?  How can one love a sin enough to ignore what the Bible says about sinning?  How can one look around them and see the wickedness in our world, the pornography, the blasphemy, the cursing of the name of Jesus, the hatred for righteousness, and love it?  I find the closer that I get to Jesus, the more I hate what He hates and I love what He loves.  Sin sent the Son of God to the cross (Matthew 1:21).  How can we abide in sin while claiming to fear God and love Him (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17)?  Does not His Word call us to repentance (Matthew 3:8; Acts 2:38) and to forsake our sins (John 5:14; 8:11)?

The child of God looks at our current sinfulness in our world and they detest it.  I myself long for the time when sin will be destroyed and all sin will cease (Revelation 21:7-8, 27).  I long for the day when perfection is the rule of the land with the King of glory reigning from His throne.  I long for the day when the pure in heart see God (Matthew 5:8).  I long for the day when the Lord will end all of this madness and will bring in everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24).  I long for the day when the true people of God, those who have forsaken their sins through the cross (1 John 2:1) will rise up and forever bless the Lord who saved us by His own power (John 1:12-13).  I long for the day when the holiness of God is what we adore instead of looking around at this sin-infested, sin-dominated world.  I long for the day when the god of this world is cast down and destroyed by the power of Christ (Revelation 2o:10).

The true disciple of Jesus reads 1 Peter 1:15-16 and they long for holiness and they detest what God detests.  They don’t read the Word of God looking for a loophole for their sins but they long for purity and for the power of sin to be broken over their lives (Hebrews 10:19-39).  I look at the news, at the state of many churches, and sometimes even my own heart and I detest what I see.  I want the glory of God to fill His Church (Ephesians 5:25-27) and I want to exalt Him through holiness in not just me but in everything around me (Hebrews 12:14).  This is why I hate sin.  This is why I preach against sin.  Because it offends my King.  He came to set people free from the chains of sin and I will not stop preaching that His blood can wash away all our sins (Ephesians 1:7) nor will I stop preaching that sinning brings the wrath of God (Romans 6:23).  I will not to preaching that God’s call is for holiness (Matthew 5:48) and I will not stop preaching that all sin is a violation of the one true God (1 John 3:4).  I will never stop preaching and praying against sin (1 John 3:4-10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/28/2013 at 7:02 PM

Prayerlessness and Giving Into Sin

I have written before on prayerlessness and I have written before on liberalism and prayer but I want to address the issue as it relates to those who turn away from the faith.  Over my years as a disciple of Jesus (since 1992), I have seen so many people turn away from Jesus.  Some have never came back while others have eventually settled into typical evangelical churches while the fire they once knew is but a distant (and to many an embarrassing) memory.  Gone were the nights of prayer.  Gone were the days of fasting.  Gone was heading out onto the streets on a Friday night to pass out tracts or to preach the gospel.  Gone were the days of sitting for hours and talking about God and His Word.  Gone were the days of memorizing Psalm 91 (in one case) to help you pray.

I use to hang out in college with a group of folks who prayed together every Friday night (and sometimes more).  We would meet in a living room of a man and we would cry out to God.  Someone would bring a guitar and we would sing songs of praise.  We would pray, worship, seek Jesus, rebuke, exhort, and weep.  We would typically start praying about 9 PM and would end around 2 AM.  All of this would be full of the Spirit of God, a passion for Jesus, and a longing to do something great for Jesus.  We were so thankful in those days for the Lord and His salvation.

And then someone would stop coming.  Sometimes it would be because they met a boyfriend or girlfriend.  Others begin to work long hours at work.  The lack of prayer would often lead them to stop reading their Bibles.  When they stopped coming to prayer, some of them began to dabble in sin.  Some began to fool around with their boyfriend or girlfriend.  At least one of them went off into a homosexual lifestyle.

Salvation, of course, is not prayer.  Salvation is Jesus.  Yet prayer often demonstrates our faith unlike any other discipline.  Prayer shows our trust in God and in His Word.  Prayer casts us fully before God, open to His correct, open to others around us weeping and crying out to Jesus.  When we fail to pray, we demonstrate that “we have this” or we don’t trust God nor His Word.  Jesus said that His disciples would pray (Matthew 6:5).  If we don’t pray, can we be His disciples?  I doubt it.  You can’t prove it from the Word.  Prayer demonstrates that we long for God unlike any other discipline that we do.  One can read their Bible and be hungry for knowledge or even to try to disprove God but one cannot truly pray and not want more of Jesus in their lives.

I have watched people wander into sin and the first thing to go is prayer.  Some still read their Bibles from time to time but as they continue in sin, they will stop that as well.  Prayer, however, is cut off quickly when a person begins to live in sin because prayer exposes us before God.  In prayer, we lay ourselves in the presence of Jesus and we want Him to search us (Psalm 139:1).  In prayer, I want God to search me and to help me to be holy (Psalm 17:3).  I long for God and His Word and in prayer this is clearly shown.  In prayer, I give God permission to have His way in me, convict me, transform me, wash me, do whatever it takes to help me to be holy as He is holy (Psalm 19:14).

To me, the first step of the backsliding person is prayerlessness.  Those of you who have fallen away and perhaps have come back to Christ, do you remember days of intercession while you lived in sin?  I remember talking to a liberal Lutheran pastor once and I asked him, “How much time you spend in prayer?”  He commented, “Well, we have prayer at our church every service and I pray during those times.”  I said, “No, I mean when was the last time you got on your face and just sought God for who He is?”  He could give no answer and in fact looked at me like I lost my mind.  Why?  Because he probably had never prayed that way nor does he pray that way now.

Prayer shows our faith.  Leonard Ravenhill called prayer, “the acid test of devotion.”   Is there any wonder then that prayer is the most neglected discipline in the church in many cases?  Paul said we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and he wrote in Colossians 4:2 that we are to devote ourselves to prayer.  Jesus said that we ought always to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1).  Romans 12:12 says likewise that we are to be constant in prayer.  Jesus said that we are to have faith in God and then He taught on prayer (Mark 11:22-24).  Truly, the person who is not praying is straying.

How is your prayer life?  Are you days marked by prayer or is it that you can’t remember the last time you got on your face and just cried out for Jesus.  He will draw near to you as you draw near to Him (James 4:7-8).  Prayerlessness is a sin (1 Samuel 12:23) and I urge you to not forsake prayer.  When you ride in your car, pray.  When you go for a walk, pray.  All day long, have God near to your mind and heart by praying to Him.  He sees our minds (Psalm 139:2) so we can’t hide from His holy presence.  I urge you fight sin through prayer (1 Corinthians 10:13).  I urge you to not forsake prayer.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/27/2013 at 3:20 PM

Seeker Churches and Apostasy

I recently found out that an old friend of mine has fallen away from the faith.  He is a guy who has been committed to the Lord for many years.  He was a Christian long before I was and in fact he tried to evangelize me before I was saved.  When I got saved in 1992, he was one of the men in my life who encouraged me in the faith to persevere and remain faithful to Jesus despite the trials I would face (Acts 14:22).  He took me to my first South Carolina Gamecocks game and though we went with some lost men, he remained resolute to be faithful to Jesus despite their sinning.  He was one of my early heroes of the faith.

But now I hear that he has turned his back on the Lord.  He has left his wife and is living in the world and in sin.

I know that each of us has free will and can turn from following the Lord.  I am not here to debate whether he was saved to begin with.  To me, that is a cheap excuse for apostates, to merely say they were never saved.  I could list his accomplishments for the Lord such as his heart for evangelism, his testimony of being saved out of a corrupt life while attending Ohio State, or his passion for worshiping the Lord but that is not my point.  I am not here to decide where he stood in the midst of his doings for the Lord.  Perhaps he was a false convert.  Perhaps he never truly repented of his sins.  I don’t know.  God knows (2 Timothy 2:19).  I do know this, his life turned toward sin when he begin attending a seeker church about 10 years ago.  After he started attending this seeker church, he was not the same.  His prayer life was gone.  His heart for the lost was gone.  His passion to avoid sin was gone.  He began to listen to old music that he liked before his salvation.  He began to watch movies that he would have never watched before.

I place much of that at the foot of the seeker churches he attended.  He ended up attending three seeker churches during the past 10 years.  The final seeker church was his demise.  I vaguely knew the first two churches because they are “screen” churches where they watched the services of other seeker churches in other places.  Multi-site churches they are called.  The last seeker church he attended was very poor preaching (0r lack thereof) and focused on the hype instead of the gospel.  This church has made headlines a few times in my city by doing “crazy” things such as dropping Easter eggs out of helicopters.

The point is that my friend was not being challenged to holiness, to evangelism, to being a man of God.  He was not being taught the Word of God nor the doctrines of the faith.  He never heard solid expository preaching while attending these seeker churches.  He grew to view the “traditional” church as dead and lacking in regard to meeting the needs of the culture.  Gone were the days of laboring in prayer.  Gone were the days of praise and worship of the King without regard for what the world thought. Gone were the days of seeing people as dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3) or seeing that their eternal destiny was based on the gospel (John 14:6).  Gone were the days of weeping over the souls of people heading for hell (Revelation 20:15).  Gone were the days of confessing sins (1 John 1:9).  My friend sat week after week in a church where hyped up music was the motif.  He sat under “talks” from men in skinny jeans and slick hair but with little passion for the gospel.  He sat and watched people abiding in sin and loving it all while claiming to be a Christian (1 John 3:7).  He never heard rebukes against sin.  He never heard the glory of God as the focus of all that we do.  He never heard the excellence of Jesus.  He heard only hype and watered down messages designed to entertain and not exhort.

And so he fell away.  His heart became cold to the things of God (Hebrews 3:12).  He allowed the world to take over and the wages of sin is always death (Romans 6:23).

My friend is an apostate now.  He needs Jesus.  He is one of those people you’ll encounter in evangelism who either will claim to still be saved despite living in sin (John 8:34) or he will bash the Church.  Either way, he wants nothing to do with the gospel right now.  I do pray the Lord turns his heart away from sin and back to the Savior.  In Jesus alone do we have salvation (John 15:1-11).  I pray that the seeker churches repent.  I pray they see that they are doing much more harm than good.  They are destroying people because they are not seeking to exalt Christ or His kingdom.  They are only building up the flesh and this always corrupts (Galatians 6:7-8).

Pray for my friend to repent (James 5:19-20).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/02/2012 at 11:12 AM

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