Relationships Part 1 - The Unbelief of Paul
Relationships - part I
The Unbelief of Paul
True Pastors have a unique heart in that they are always carrying around with them the best and the worst of the cross. It is reflected by the church or the people in which he Shepard’s. I’m reminded of the joy and sadness Jesus probably felt when the disciples he sent out came back experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit.
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
On one hand there were seventy-two devoted and excited disciples experiencing the power of God, the power of Christ’s word, seeing miracles and healings, and preaching they had never heard before. On the other hand as the walk deepened and the teaching Christ proclaimed became more specific we find them deserting the very one in whom they were perceiving to be the Messiah.
53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
Ten verses Later…
60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
So what do I mean when I say, the walk deepened”? What I mean is this. Jesus went from talking in generalities to specifics. Generalities give us an overall picture; it lets us see purpose, and inspires us for the purpose of change. However, when dealing in specifics, they tell us truth which immediately seeks out an action. Specifics talk directly into our lives and tell us we need to change. Specifics state the truth and tell you the consequences. In contrast, the big picture makes everyone feel good and a part of the outcome or the sum. The reason it hasn’t told you specifically what it takes to be apart of the big picture. We see this clearly by the example above.
When the power of God is present and the willingness of believers gathers under a focused purpose there is excitement and joy, everyone is happy. There something instinctively self gratifying when we can talk into other lives, when we have that piece of knowledge they don’t have. It makes us e feel good, it makes us feel smart, and it makes us feel used. People like speaking into other peoples lives. However, when the shoe is on the other foot, it doesn’t make us to happy. Specifics make us look into our own lives; it calls us to change, to act now, to not do something we shouldn’t, to do something we should, it challenges us where we are at and no one likes that. Because no one wants to be told no, to be told you shouldn’t, to be told there actions are not right, to come to grips with the consequences of that specific principles in our life.
Jesus walked around I would guess with great joy and great sadness. I imagine he had joy for those who endured the specifics and persevered and sadness for those who fell away because it wasn’t what they want to hear. Ask yourself, how many received the message, how many stood at the foot of his cross believing or waiting to see if what he proclaimed was true.
Pastors carry a piece of the cross with them in this way. We speak the truth, the principles and the wisdom of God word. But we have to stand at the foot of each one your crosses. We wait and see will they crucify self and allow these principles and truths to live in their lives or we watch to see if what you hear will really be received.
This brings me to Paul. Can you imagine the time spent in prayer, the suffering endured, the process he had to go to bring the Corinthians the Gospel. However, as the Lord opened the door for the gospel to these people and as Paul moved on, slowly people began to drift to back to there heathen ways, to there old lifestyles, from receiving a gift Spiritually to reacting in their lives completely in the flesh. This is exactly what happened to Paul. Can you imagine his unbelief?
Open your Bibles to
1 Cor. 5:1
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans:
Today we are going to talk specifically into your lives. I am going to say the unpopular thing today and talk about things we probably don’t want to hear. I fully recognize the easy thing to talk about is generic principles, but I feel it’s my responsibilities to help you achieve God’s best and easiest path for your life.
In a recent study taken from the Barna Group we see that in America there is moral decay happening in our Culture like never before.
Check out these statistics of what we find morally acceptable in America
61% of all adults believe its OK…
45% of born Again Christians
75% of Atheist/Agnostics
60% of all Adults believe it’s OK
49% of born again Christians
87% of Atheist/Agnostics
59% of all adults believe it’s OK
49% of all Born Again Christians
78% of Atheist/Agnostics
45% of adults
45% of Born Again
71% of Atheist/Agnostics
Sexual relationships with someone of the opposite sex to whom you are not married
42% of all adults
35% of Born Again Christians
69% of Atheist/Agnostics
Looking at Pornography
38% of all adults
28% of Born again Christians
70% of Atheist/Agnostics
36% of all adults
29% of Born Again believers
61% of Atheist/Agnostics
35% of all adults
24% of Born Again Christians
61% of Atheist/Agnostics
30% of all adults
20% of Born Again
55% of Atheist/Agnostics
I want you to see that with the incline in the belief of Atheism, agnosticism or evolutionism also comes moral degradation among the generations who accept it in their lives. With these type of belief systems in play it becomes a hopeless cycle of feel good do what feels right, right now moral bankruptcy. When there is nothing from which we are created we feel there is no purpose in our lives, no law giver of the moral laws, and when we base our life on the evolutionist principles of only the strong survive, we see that in it’s extreme the ultimate evil of how it turns our. Hitler believed in natural selection and based his principles of extremism on the foundation of evolution. If the Jews were eliminated from the earth it was simple “natural.”
More disturbing though is what supposed Christians begin to accept. 50% toy with sexual thoughts, 30% find pornography “OK”, almost 40% find sleeping together before marriage acceptable, and 40% find abortion a viable option. There is a clear indication that Moral standards among Christians begins to rise as the generations get older. This is because they have already made their mistakes and are on the other side of the consequences.
I want to give you a little poll I took myself among people from youth group who recently graduated are now at least 3 years out of High school. Out of 60 kids those who dated, even within youth group, only 2 are in the ministry, 4 have gotten married, 4 have gotten pregnant, 30 barley go to church anymore because they don’t have time, and out of that thirty that don’t have time, they do have time for a relationship, but there relationship doesn’t have time for God. 10 are no where to be found.
I can seriously imagine Paul’s anger and frustration when he finds out that there is sexual immorality happening among those he just brought the Gospel to, among those who he did many great signs and wonders. Christians will allow a preacher to stand up and say drinking, smoking, or drugs are wrong but here is what you don’t like. You don’t like it when leaders talk into your life concerning relationships.
I want you to reflect for a second and answer this question to yourself. How many supposed Christians do you know in your life who aren’t having the correct type of relationship meaning active sexually. How many do you know who despite what they believe, do what they want anyway? How many apply principles of the bible to everyone else’s life except there own? How many sympathize with there or your own situation because of a “good reason”
I want you guys to understand that the number one reason people do not get Gods best in there lives is because of the wrong relationships we keep in our lives. If we listen to what the left wing democrats are spewing in the media you will find a huge scream that say people need to be more tolerant! However, the problem among Christian relationships is not that we need to be tolerant it is that we are too tolerant. I often wonder what we have allowed in our lives for compassions sake, or because we are called to love. Although we need to be concerned for others, and love our neighbors, it doesn’t mean we follow them over into the devils back yard. To many times we as Christians are tying to understand where our crazy friends are coming from and in the process we let thoughts and understanding rule our spiritual psyche rather than the word of God. But let’s see what Paul states when dealing with a friend of his who was in sexual immorality and those who were tolerant of the situation.
1 Cor. 5:2
Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?
We waist a lot of energy in conversations, over coffee, discussing feelings and emotions, getting into the dirty details, trying to understand love saying ignorant statements like, “The pastor doesn’t understand their in love”, “He doesn’t want people to be happy”. Well, I am here to tell you that maybe it is not the Pastor or the church that doesn’t understand. Maybe it is your misplaced grief, or misplaced compassion for those who choose their lusts over God. Where is your compassion for the cross? Where is your friend’s compassion for the cross? Instead of being sad for their situations or your situations maybe you should be sad for their soul, that they mock God by their actions and that they trample on the blood of Christ buy what they do.
If we don’t as Christians have a sense of morality in our lives then who will? And for a moment lets say the world is correct, then someone explain to me what extreme behavior is? Is sleeping with every boyfriend or girlfriend we have, is that extreme or the norm? Is blatant homosexuality is that extreme? Is pornography just another side to a glamorous life?
It’s time we reevaluate the importance of what God wants for your life and the relationships we have surrounded ourselves with. Understand that no man or women in our lives is meant to be our emotional crutch. Our identity isn’t to be found in the people around us but rather the creator in us and through us.
When people sin I try to do what Matthew 18 states in confronting them with the situation, however, what I don’t do is chase after those who aren’t listening anyway.
Isn’t it weird how those who are doing what is right are always suppose to be tolerant and understanding of those who aren’t in order that they may feel more comfortable.
Let me say this, if you’re feeling guilty because your in sin I say good. If you’re feeling convicted because of sexual immorality I say awesome. If your feeling uncomfortable because no one understands were your coming from I say wake up. It’s not my job or the job of the church nor the job of the Holy Spirit to make you feel comfortable in your sin. If you wish to not feel guilty, if you wish to not feel uncomfortable, or not feel convicted there is an easy solution. Stop sinning, get rid of the baggage, and start living right before God. Do what’s right humble yourself and you’ll get God’s best.
Some of you today will say that this is a hard message, but the better question to ask is this, “Will you accept this message or will you receive it’? Listen what Paul States when dealing with this type of immorality:
1 Corinthians 5:5
5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord
In other words he saying let Satan destroy their lives, let them foolishly align their thoughts, patterns, and actions to Satan’s and see where it takes them. Recognize that continual sin doesn’t qualify you for more of God’s grace it only qualifies you for more his judgment. Make no mistake when we continue to sin your screaming for God’s protective covering to be pulled off of your life.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.
As for us as Christians, you heard me say it a million times. It’s not our job to be our friends or boyfriends saviors. It is however, or job to be pure before God. In reality there is only one relationship in your life that matters and that is your relationship with God. If someone within our group or the body of believers is sinning sexually then I feel it is our job to confront them once, try to talk to them twice, but if they aren’t going to change we can’t carry that burden for them, we can’t carry there cross, my own cross is heavy enough. We have to let them go and turn the situation over to God. I truly believe we are absolutely wrong to meet them on their ground. I truly believe that we need to meet with our relationships on common ground which is based on the principles of Gods word. We can’t be afraid to let them walk.
1 Cor 5:6-8
Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth
We have been giving something sacred within us. Those of us accepting Christ understand the sacredness of the cross and how God has entrusted us with his witness. More then that he we should feel honored to share in the suffering of the cross and live up to the obligation for that which we know to be real.
1 Cor 4:2
So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
Our obligation to our friends is not to coddle their situations and help them justify themselves, but rather to stand for a truth that is much deeper then the relationship and sin they place in front of God. Our faithfulness is not to them but to God. If you have told them, and them told them again and they have not accepted the Gospel then they have made there choice. We can’t allow the yeast of there thoughts, there actions, there lifestyles to affect our relationship with God. The more we coddle to their needs the more our tolerance lines are moved back at some point we to stand up and be a Christian. Understand shame is always looking for justification and if they choose a shameful route they should feel shame.
1 Cor. 5:9
9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
1 Cor 6:9
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were.
I understand that people don’t like to be told about relationships, who they should or shouldn’t be around. But you need to protect your relationship with God and stand for truth, speak the truth, and live the truth. Those who live apart from God will die apart from God. Your obedience lies in giving them the truth but not in saving them.