Fear not the world, “I have overcome the world”
I was in church on Sunday and the sermon preached was half a sermon. If it had contained the other half, it would have been fabulous. As it was, it reduced the Father’s identity to a GOD who wants his children to love one another and to be nice, inclusive and without standards of His righteousness. If this is the standard of the Anglican Church in Britain, the country — to quote the title of a book written by an earnest brother, Wale Babatunde — “Great Britain has Fallen”.
But we fear not
Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33)
Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
We are not to stand in judgment of those who seek a lifestyle contrary to the LORD’s ways of righteousness, not if they are in the World. But those who enter church life, should be embraced and then, they as we all, need to remember as the woman caught in adultery was told, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
The pendulum swing from shame and abhorrence of a person of the world who lives in sin to acceptance of that person as a fellow human being who needs the love of GOD is timely, and right. However, the pendulum has swung to the other extreme, as my witness recognises, when a church leader tells his congregation to be inclusive of all, regardless of culture, colour or creed, including gays and others of the LGBTQ group, with no inclusion of Jesus’ standards. The church then is, quite simply, without Jesus.
Jesus, Prince of Peace, Holy One
Jesus has overcome the legalism and damage of the cruel judgemental nature of society. He has done it with love. But he has not stopped there. He has called us to the Father, who abhors sin. And sin includes sexual immorality, including incest, and homosexuality. Jesus without the Father to whom he points, is not Jesus at all, but a cardboard cutout of a saviour without a call to righteousness.
There is a right and loving way to call one to face their sin, and a wrong way. But not to do it at all reduces the sinner’s opportunity to gain the purity and forgiveness Jesus offers, and reduces Jesus to a “nice guy” who has some authority over “cruelty of humanity” inside a community.
Yes, we need to introduce people to Jesus, but to his full identity. It is ironic in accepting the identity of a gay person, we are being called to hide Jesus’ full identity, so that the individual might feel accepted. He is accepted by Jesus and should be by us. But if his behaviour is sinful, he needs to be made aware. The woman caught in adultery knew her shame and her sin. Jesus did not condone it, but neither did he condemn her. There is the person and there is the sin, and each needs to be addressed.
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1)
Oh Church! How fallen you are when you cannot purge the evil without also purging the good.
As a Watchman, I wonder, Do I speak to this vicar? My answer is no. While Ezekiel is my touch-prophet, and Ezekiel 3 and 33 tell me I must not hide Truth from a sinner, or I do so at my own peril, I am not called to preach to this “preacher”. Lately, I have been led to offer insight to others, in polite discourse. But not to this person. Why not? Because he already knows? Because he is too far gone in his thinking? I don’t know. I doubt either of these reasons. It is probably because I could not confront him in a way that would convict him. That is another person’s responsibility, whom GOD is calling. But I do pray, that he will see in himself, when he looks into his mirror, that Jesus is not the picture he is painting for people, and that he will acknowledge the Jesus of GOD’s Word, and lead his people rightly.
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.” (1 Peter 2:1)
Perhaps the reason GOD is not calling me to speak to this vicar at this time is because he knows his compromise and the Father is allowing him to live in that sin for a season. I pray there will come a time when he will turn from his wickedness and lead his flock into all Truth.