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Ambassadors to a World of Compromise
John MacArthur

Since its inception, Hollywood has been fascinated with the strange, the unordinary, and the extra-terrestrial. Creature films, the fantasy genre, and science-fiction movies continue to draw thousands to the theaters with thrilling special effects and creative tales to satisfy your imaginative curiosity in the other-worldly.

What do you think would happen if an alien being really did visit our world-how would the world react? Fear, wonder, suspicion, acceptance, rejection? You don't have to wonder; someone from another world did visit planet earth, and we responded by crucifying Him. It's not that Jesus was strange-He looked like any other man; it's not that He was out of step with the culture-He came as a Jew to Jews; it's not that He threatened people's physical safety-He healed them; it's not that He stole their resources-He created food for thousands and gave without cost.

Jesus Christ wasn't the problem. He embodied true humanity and united it with the essential nature of God in one perfect Person. The problem was in a world of sinful men that would not accept a visit from the Creator. Jesus didn't compromise Himself or His teaching to the world of men, and that made them angry.

Jesus' integrity to God's character and God's truth really frustrated the Jews-He wouldn't line up with their system of works and self-righteousness. He rejected their interpretations of the Law (Matthew 5:21-48); He rejected their superficial and hypocritical righteousness (Matthew 6:1-18); He rejected their love of money (Matthew 6:19-34). In short, He just wouldn't get with their program. To do that would require compromise, and Jesus was the epitome of integrity.

The American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin, 1992) defines integrity as "steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code," "the state of being unimpaired; soundness," or "the quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness." It comes from the word integer, which means being true to one's ethical standards, in this case, God's standards. Its synonyms are "honesty," "sincerity," "incorruptibility."

Integrity describes someone without hypocrisy or duplicity-someone who is completely consistent with his or her stated convictions. A person who lacks integrity-someone who says one thing and does another-is a hypocrite.

Integrity-integrity to the truth and integrity to godly character-that's what should characterize you if you are a follower of Jesus Christ. No doubt people will treat you like an alien, but integrity is the badge of every true believer. That badge will bring you into conflict with the world, because the world is characterized by compromise.

Christ left us-true Christians-on this planet to be His ambassadors with this message: be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). We are not of the world, even as Christ was not of the world (John 17:16), and to the degree we represent Him, we will be treated like He was-with suspicion, scorn, ridicule, even violence.

In the world, compromise is virtue-it's what gets you ahead. Moral standards and Christian principles get in the way of the pragmatic and expedient. The underlying philosophy is based on accomplishing goals by whatever means are necessary. That self-centered perspective, inevitably leading to compromise of conviction and morality, is so prevalent in our society that there is no longer a national conscience. Guilt and remorse are nonfactors in determining behaviors.

Politicians, who should be upholding the high ideals of our country, instead are leading the way in compromise. They promote their lofty standards and high ideals prior to their elections but compromise them once they are in office. The same holds true in business, from corporate executives down to salespeople; in the courts, from judges to attorneys; in sports, from owners to athletes; and in all walks of life. As a result, people learn to lie, cheat, steal, and shade the truth-to do whatever is necessary to get what they want. Thus compromise becomes a way of life.

Unfortunately the philosophy and practice of compromise has even invaded the church. Because "tolerance" is the operative ideology in our society, the church adopts a similar perspective to reach the unsaved. Many churches now look for ways to give the gospel to people without offending them. Yet the very nature of the gospel is offensive because it confronts sinners with their sin. Ignoring that, many churches willingly compromise God's Word instead of standing firm on the gospel, and they give the world a watered-down version that can't effect any change.

On an individual basis, the spirit of compromise hits closer to home in your personal interactions. You may have had opportunities to proclaim Christ to unbelievers, yet out of intimidation or lack of confidence, you have kept silent. Perhaps you've found yourself compromising God's Word on some ethical issue at work or in your neighborhood and convinced yourself that such compromise was necessary to maintain your credibility as an employee or neighbor. Yet your Christian testimony is predicated on your complete devotion to God's Word as the highest authority-no matter what the consequences may be. God draws the elect into the kingdom through Christians who prove to be different from the world-who reveal their true allegiance by their commitment and obedience to God's standards.

The church is now so adept at compromising with the world that it has forgotten how to be uncompromising. That's because we readily accept the world's value systems and indulge ourselves in them to the point that we personalize them and they become our desires. In essence, our standards replace God's.

Scripture calls us to the opposite of compromise. From one end of the Bible to the other, God clearly commands His people to live apart from the world, to be separate from the world (1 Peter 2:9). Whenever we are tempted to compromise, we need only remind ourselves that God never compromises His absolute truths and principles for expediency. He always lives according to His Word. Psalm 138:2 says, "You have magnified Your word according to all Your name." God is committed to His Word, and as His children, we are to be also.

When you view God's Word as the ultimate authority, that opens the way for developing integrity instead of compromise. And integrity is the pathway to God's blessing.

When Solomon finished building the house of the Lord, the Lord appeared to him and said:

I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. And as for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, just as I promised to your father David, saying, "You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel." (1 Kings 9:3-5).

The conclusion is simple: those who maintain a life of integrity will be blessed by God. It is the way we represent Christ on earth as His ambassadors. We identify with Him by standing apart from the world, not compromising God's truth or His character in how we live our lives, in how we conduct ourselves in His church. And when we identify ourselves with Him here on earth, He will confess us before His Father in heaven and will one day receive us to Himself.

Adapted from The Power of Integrity (c) 1997 by John MacArthur. All rights reserved.

How I missed this I am unsure but it really hit a favorite topic of mine (which most don't like) and that is compromise ... Hey I was wondering how much does a church have to not look like a church before it is just a shopping mall?!? I mean wal-mart has bibles and tee shirts and coffee maybe we should meet there? they have the music... I am sorry but ya can't trick people into following Christ... you might convince them to hang out but not follow...

Ya know the word offend actually offends me! I am so sick of that word and how people want me to tippee toe so I don't "offend" Well here is my thought did Christ not offend? I mean really how many times did they try to kill Him. Its not permission to go out and be a punk to everyone.. But dont sugar coat everything !!! Because you know what sugar does? It Rots your teeth so ya can't handle the meat ! Get what I am saying?

Well just a thought....

Joyfully ~ Jlu
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Well, I comprmise a lot everyday. I always ask God to make me the kind of person I am in church. When we all go to churches, we are the devoted christians christ looks for, and when we go out the devoted people the world looks for.
Yes, I have passed too many unbelievers because I compromise. But I have got so tired of coming home and asking God to forgive me because I know what I did is wrong.
So, I try to be like Christ - the uncompromising, even at the end of his breathe, he didn't compromise me.
You know, the other day my freinds were talking about the holyspirit and I came and joined them. So, they laughed becasue I usually talk to them about God and how I came when they were just talking about it. Or when they make un-funny jokes about God and I don't laugh, they say staff. But instead of being offended I am happy when ever I stand up for the person I live for, when ever I act like an ambassador because I know I don't have to go home and ask for forgiveness. i can go home smiling knowing that he is also smiling down.
The truth is being hated by the world brings more peace than being peaceful with the world compromising.
Love and Peace
Jesus's always
I agree with you Jesuslovesu and Jesus's always. If we are not being offensive to the world we are not doing our job as Christians properly. I absolutely believe in no compromise. Even other Christians will mock me because of my belief, but I would rather be offensive to them, than to compromise my own relationship with Christ.
I agree for the most part. However, my church has those things plus we're in the process of building what will be called the "Family Life Center" next door. The FLC is going to be kind of like a Christian Bally's (athletic club). Now before you say anything, this is a good idea for a couple of reasons. It will give men and women a place to go workout where the people won't be so scantily clad that they might as well be naked. I will also give us Christians a place to take non-Christians where we can ultimately witness to them through words and by showing them that believers aren't a bunch of boring prudes as the world sees us.

Sure, it will attract non-believers but our church will have a rule that they have to be accompanied by a church member to attend because afterall, it will be free to get in and workout. I can see downsides to this as well but the good outways the bad in my opinion. Besides, even Christians are far often too quick to be negative about things like this, have you ever noticed that?
Jay actually I dont have an issue with that...it actually sounds like a good idea... it is a seperate building? I think it is a good idea to have christian places for us as believers to go and be "safe" (we all need that) my problem is with the churches where you cant find a cross in the building but you can find a starbucks...

I think more christians should open places like the gym..

Joyfully ~ Jlu
Definitely! I've seen churches where you have to look hard to find a cross or a picture of Jesus anywhere. I even visited a church one time in which one of the members told me, "we don't talk about hell here" and looked at me as if I had just kicked her in the gut. Isn't that sad!?
I think it is an awesome idea. I mean it is hard to speak of Jesus in any jym. But if it is a christian one, it just comes out. Besides, it is good to have r/nships with christians out side church.
love and peace
Jesus's always

hi everyone just this week when i went to the immigration office i was witnessing to whenof the officers about Jesus . and he ask me what if i was completely brain washed and didn'yt even know it and what if an aklien ship landed outside what would i do. i answered him but i don't think i did a good job at least i was not satisfied so i continued speaking to him.i'm sayin all this to say thanks for this post it really helped me.


never lose your joy
Amen thankful! Even if you didn't completely get through to him, you absolutely made him think about it and that's what Jesus wants us to do. Not everyone will breakdown and accept Jesus right away, but you exposed him more to it and that is what counts.

On a side note, I am a certified police officer and was active for about 6 years on the force. Anyone in law enforcement can be very hard to witness to because we see so many evil things every single day and it numbs us to reality. Immigration officials are not imune to this and I think you did a wonderful thing! Keep sharing The Gospel with all who will hear it!
Jesus's always said:
I think it is an awesome idea. I mean it is hard to speak of Jesus in any jym. But if it is a christian one, it just comes out. Besides, it is good to have r/nships with christians out side church.
love and peace
Jesus's always

I think so too! I can't wait to use that gym to witness! It's going to be exciting because then I can take friends of mine who aren't saved or whom I suspect not to be saved and show them that the "Christian stereotype" needs to be thrown out the window.