Do you know what’s fun? Waking up at 6 am on a Sunday for no good reason.
Yesterday morning at Oh Dark Thirty I slipped out from under the covers and made my way downstairs. Coffee in hand, snuggled under a down comforter on the couch, I read some in Ezekiel and then found my way to YouTube where I watched a sermon with a catchy title from a church I attended a few years ago.
The message was spot-on (how the world wants us to forget our identity and conform to society’s standard of “truth”) and I was pleasantly surprised at the firm stand the pastor took on things. Towards the end, though, I did disagree with some of the issues he held up as “preferences” that can keep us from unity. There are preferences, and then there is sin. Sin is never an acceptable preference or matter of opinion. Not if you claim to follow Christ.
I usually walk in the mornings after I take Audrey to the bus stop, and at least twice a week I talk to my friend Deb on the phone while she walks in her neighborhood (or house depending on if she’s still wearing pajamas). It’s wonderful to have a friend with whom to hash through ideas and events and worries and joys on a regular basis. We pray together, too, which is so important. Today we discussed the sermon I’d watched and I expressed my gratefulness to be in a church now that values grace-filled, unambiguous truth. God’s word is not subject to today’s ideological preferences. That’s why we can trust it!
Deb commented that it’s good to know where a church stands, to which I replied, “It’s really important to know where God stands!” Because, at the end of the day, our opinions won’t save us. Belonging to Jesus does. And those who belong to him know his voice and obey his commands. Those who keep sinning? We’re fooling ourselves to think we can persist in unrepentant sin and belong to Christ.
Christians need to know God’s word, because the world is trying to get the church to conform to its standards, rather than the other way around. Romans 12:2 tells us clearly not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, which comes from..you guessed it..the word of God.
When you live in a culture that awards “First Female Four-Star Officer” to a man, I’d say we need to arm ourselves with truth all the more because it’s getting harder and harder for Christians who don’t want to “offend” anyone not to fall off the fence onto the side of progressive liberalism. And if you’re offended I said that, you may already be there.
Why is that a problem?
Because there is no way a loving, holy, and righteous God supports abortion, sexual immorality, and gender delusion. So as Christians, who are supposed to be confirming to the image of Jesus, we can’t support those things either. Can we love people struggling with these issues? Absolutely. But if God does not affirm sin, how can we?
Listen: There is plenty of liberty in Christ! If your personal conviction does not contradict God’s word, there is freedom! That’s why we must know his word to discern right from wrong and to avoid being manipulated or led astray by wrong teaching.
God loves us way too much to leave us in our sin. Be part of a church that loves people enough not to cave to culture. Otherwise, what’s the point?
We are in this world. Not of it. It’s so important to know the difference, and so important to be the difference. A lost and dying world benefits nothing when we tell them they’re cool where they are.