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Loyal
For those of us who live in the USA, or in the world, as a whole, are we aware of the spiritual and moral decline across our nation, or across the globe? Have we noticed the chaos, the rebellion, and the utter moral decay and depravity that is now being accepted as normal in our society, and perhaps, even within the church? Does this concern us? And, if it does concern us, what are we doing about it? What should we do about it?

Our Passions

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Jas. 4:1-3 ESV

I want us to look here at this word translated as “passions” in these verses. The Greek word “hēdonḗ is the root of the English terms, ‘hedonism,’ ‘hedonistic,’” which is really “sensual pleasure; satisfaction of physical appetite, with a strong negative connotation, generally referring to pleasure that is made an end in itself. That is, the satiation of bodily desires (lusts) at the expense of other things.” (biblehub.com).

This, I believe, is where we are as a nation, as the world, perhaps, and as the church, at least here in the USA, by a vast majority, though this does not include every individual, for many followers of Jesus Christ are truly walking in holiness and purity, but they appear now to be in the minority.

I believe our world, and our nation, and the vast majority of the church, in my nation, anyway, are consumed (overly saturated) with sensual pleasure, with lust, with entertainment, and with gratifying the flesh. We live in a “Me, Me” culture where it is all about our needs, which are often our wants (desires). Pornography addiction is catastrophic, but not just out in the world, but it has reached epidemic proportions even within the church. Homosexuality, adultery, fornication, sexting, extra-marital affairs, and the like, are common place even within the church, and among its leaders.

The “need” to be entertained incessantly is also very widespread, especially since the introduction of television, movies, the internet, social media, the media, video games, laptop computers, IPads (tablets), and smart phones, and the like. And, this attitude has now also permeated the church.

Church services are often now not more than massive stage productions designed for the entertainment of the masses. Pastors have turned into clowns and entertainers (actors) to keep the people laughing and having fun and coming back for more.

Worship services are now more often than not about the really cool (and loud) band (worship team) and the really hip (trendy) pastor, who has to show how much he connects with the world by his obvious worldly displays from the stage. Singers on stage sometimes may be more like bar singers with sensual voices and with swaying hips, because sex sells, even in church. And, pastors regularly use video clips for their sermon illustrations, even if the clips come from sensually-charged and seductive movies.

And, then, to top it all off, the gospel has been diluted so that it will sell to the world. Thus, it has been altered to make it more appealing and acceptable to human flesh. So, they stripped away the cross of Christ, in our lives, from the message, so as not to offend anyone. And, they teach that all you have to do is say you believe in Jesus Christ’s existence, or in what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins, and then accept his forgiveness for our sins, as though that is automatic to anyone who just acknowledges his existence or even what he did. And, then the believers are congratulated that they are now part of God’s family and heaven is guaranteed them.

They do not, though, teach death to sin and living to righteousness. They don’t teach the necessity of repentance or obedience to Christ, although scripture certainly does. And, they teach that God is pleased with us no matter what we do, and that his grace allows us to keep on sinning (practicing sin).

Friendship with World

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Jas. 4:4 ESV

God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – sees this situation as adultery against him, but not just as adultery, but as strongly opposed to him and to his Word, as though the vast majority of the church has now become his enemy. Is this what you see, too? This is what we should be seeing.

The Lord gave me an interesting illustration of this this morning that was a picture of him, and of his messengers, his representatives. We are on the pathway of holiness, preaching and teaching the truth of the gospel. But, his voice (and our voices) are being drowned out (smothered) by all this worldliness and sensuality, adultery, sexual perversion and incessant thirst for entertainment. His voice, his truth is being smothered nearly to the point of death, i.e. this is a quenching of his Holy Spirit which is going on within the church, and the church is not doing much of anything about it, either (See 1 Corinthians 5). They are choking out the Spirit’s voice, and most of them don’t seem to care, either.

He Yearns Jealously

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. Jas. 4:5-10 ESV

The Holy Spirit needs to move in our midst, but his voice is being choked out so that he is not able to influence, persuade and lead the world on this path of holiness, because of all the other influences that are weighing down on his voice so that it cannot be heard. His voice is in danger of being snuffed out altogether, and this is because God’s people, for the most part, are consumed with the world, with entertainment, and with sensual pleasure, i.e. with gratifying the sinful cravings of our flesh.

God is yearning jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell within us, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory. Jesus paid the price for our sins with his blood so that we could be delivered out of slavery to our sinful passions (lusts), not so we could continue in them without conscience. He is grieving over this situation where his voice, the voice of His Spirit, and of his messengers, is being choked and smothered to the point of near death, while the vast majority of this nation, and the church in this nation, are involved in pagan revelry, as in the days of Noah.

And, the problem is that his people, for the most part, are not doing anything about it (1 Corinthians 5). But, this is not about getting involved in political movements or sending letters to our congressmen, either. He wants to raise up a mighty army from among his people who will speak out, and who will raise a war cry, and who will expose what is going on in the church, and among the church leaders, too.

Do you realize that probably as many as 50% to 75% of pastors are involved in pornography, and many of them have also gone to prostitutes, homosexual relations, extra-marital affairs, and the like, because they, too, are among the lust addicted? Is it any wonder, then, that the church is not speaking out on these issues, and that they have diluted the gospel message in order to ease their own consciences, or what is left of them? And, that probably as many as 90% of all males are regularly viewing porn? And, porn is leading many to acting out what they see on the screen in real life?

And, do you realize how many lives are being destroyed by this, including spouses, children, families, and the church, too? It is astounding how many people’s lives have been utterly devastated by this lust for sensual pleasure that is now epidemic in America, at least, and in the church. And, what are we doing about it? What can we do about it?

We are living in very troubled times here, and our Lord’s return is near. We need to unite as one voice and speak out on these issues and call for people to repent of their sins and to return to their Lord, because the days are evil. So, would you please pray about what I have shared here, and ask the Lord what he wants you to do and how you can make a difference? Time is running out.

When the Roll is Called up Yonder
James M. Black

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Friday, January 26, 2018, 7:11 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your word. May we take it to heart.
 
Loyal
A few things I would like to add I agree a vast majority of churches have strayed and are not about Gods word, take the catholic church, people should watch the movie "spotlight" it is a true story of how thousands of priest have been caught red handed in molesting children and the superiors know about it yet they just shuffle the around to different parishes, pay off the families and move on, truly evil.

I would like to also say there are still many great churches around and I encourage people to go and find one, I would like to also add there are NO perfect churches not possible, so to be so nit picky that you miss out on a good one just because of some nit picky reason like you dont like the music.

I feel very blessed to have found a biblical sound church,(by the way I dont like the music) it is non-denominational and the bible is taught, not man made traditions. I hope everyone searches for a church and just does not give up on the church, but I know in some areas its just not possible to find a sound biblical church, however we are lucky to have the internet for all the bad it does it also does good by giving us more access to the word of God and some great teachings that people of years earlier never had, there is no excuse for not getting a sound diet of spiritual food from a good biblical teacher any longer with access to the internet.
 
Loyal
A few things I would like to add I agree a vast majority of churches have strayed and are not about Gods word, take the catholic church, people should watch the movie "spotlight" it is a true story of how thousands of priest have been caught red handed in molesting children and the superiors know about it yet they just shuffle the around to different parishes, pay off the families and move on, truly evil.

I would like to also say there are still many great churches around and I encourage people to go and find one, I would like to also add there are NO perfect churches not possible, so to be so nit picky that you miss out on a good one just because of some nit picky reason like you dont like the music.

I feel very blessed to have found a biblical sound church,(by the way I dont like the music) it is non-denominational and the bible is taught, not man made traditions. I hope everyone searches for a church and just does not give up on the church, but I know in some areas its just not possible to find a sound biblical church, however we are lucky to have the internet for all the bad it does it also does good by giving us more access to the word of God and some great teachings that people of years earlier never had, there is no excuse for not getting a sound diet of spiritual food from a good biblical teacher any longer with access to the internet.
Dave M - I appreciate your comments, but this was not really about good and bad churches and trying to find a good one. And, this problem is not just prevalent in the Catholic church, but it is epidemic even in Evangelic Christian Churches. This is about the church, at large, ignoring, justifying, shoving under the rug, pacifying and making allowances within the church for sensual pleasure, lust addiction, worldliness, and yielding to the lusts of the flesh as opposed to being Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, holy, righteous, honest, pure, faithful, etc. This is HUGE across all denominations, but not all congregations share this problem to this degree, most probably, but we can't really be sure about this, because most of this is kept hidden, and not everyone is forthright about it. But, there is enough evidence to make a determination that this is a very serious issue in the church that needs to be taken care of (1 Corinthians 5), and to know that God is jealous for his church that they live in faithfulness to him and not in spiritual adultery.
 

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