Christian: Do Not Fail to Be in Fellowship with God!
Of late, I am saddened to learn of a number of pastors who have brought shame to themselves and dishonor to God because of their actions. I want to be very clear here that I understand the adage, There but for the grace of God go I. I understand that it is only when I actively continue in fellowship with God in Christ that I am free and remain free from sin, according to John’s first epistle. I also understand that being and remaining in fellowship with God is a choice I must make.
Each day, Satan will do whatever it takes to move me away from God. Once I stop focusing on His Presence within me and stop relying on Him to keep me free from sin, chances are great that I will sin. This goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden where we clearly see the failure of Adam and Eve to remain in fellowship with God because of the Tempter’s snare set before them. This is clearly why people are responsible for their failures, however great or small.
I know beyond doubt that I am not yet perfected. In fact, no Christian is who continues to draw breath in this life. We all await the day when our faith will be sight, when the sin nature so inextricably bound within us will finally be removed and we will also be given new, glorified bodies, incapable of sin. However, in the meantime, authentic Christians have an obligation to not live according to the fleshly desires. When faced with temptations to fall and fail, James tells us we must resist our sworn enemy, the devil and there is only one way to do that.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7; KJV)
This is not a suggestion. It is a command. We are to submit to God and in doing so, we will be resisting the devil, who in turn, will run away from us because he cannot withstand God’s power working in us to keep us from sin. This is the way of Christ. It is how He lived and it is a life we must imitate and emulate, but we must know that we can never do this in our own strength. It is impossible to live this way from the heart by ourselves. Certainly, we can, in our own strength, fake something that looks as though we are living that way, but God sees through our puny efforts and knows that we are using our own strength instead of His. As such, at some point, it will end in failure.
The victorious Christian life is lived out when we do two things:
- submit to God
- resist the devil
It is that simple except for the din that temptation creates within us, pulling us here, pushing us there. Only God in and through us can overcome and that only happens when we continuously submit ourselves to God. In doing so, we will be resisting the devil causing him to give up and run away.
I recently learned of R. C. Sproul, Jr., who found himself in trouble with the law. Before that, and over a year ago, R. C. Sproul, Jr. was found to have been in contact with the Ashley Madison adult website. He confessed to going to that website “in a moment of weakness, pain, and from an unhealthy curiosity. … My goal was not to gather research for critical commentary, but to fan the flames of my imagination…”
It’s good he admitted it, but apparently, that is not the end of the story. More recently, R. C. Sproul, Jr. was arrested in Indiana on November 29, 2016. He had allegedly been driving while intoxicated and with a minor in the vehicle. Because of this, the younger Sproul resigned his ministerial position at Ligonier Ministries and his resignation was accepted.
In another instance, a local pastor, who pastored a church with close to 10,000 members found himself out of a job and church. His wife was dying of cancer. During that time, he found another woman and began an illicit affair. Meanwhile, his wife regained her health and filed for divorce. The pastor then married his mistress and she was installed as the new “first lady” of the church.
Because the pastor was so unrepentant and even bold about his lifestyle, many within the church left and took their money with them. Several months later, the church campus sits empty, with chains across the front doors as the bank has foreclosed on the building and the grounds. The pastor? He’s simply moving on to start a brand new church, one that emphasizes the “I” in each person as well as “God’s love.” Will he be successful? From a human perspective, he undoubtedly will be. If you visit their social network page, you will see many accolades regarding the pastor’s teaching quality and how so many love that church. They will simply follow this man wherever he goes and will continue to be part of whatever he does. There is no sign that the pastor believes he has done any wrong at all, yet he cheated on his wife with another woman, just like King David did. Were there consequences for David? You bet there were! You can read about them in 2 Samuel 11.
Why am I discussing the faults and failures of these individuals? Am I doing it to gloat? Not at all. It is a reminder that none of us are above falling and failing God, as I initially pointed out. What should happen now with these men and with any of us who fall as they have fallen?
In essence, these men should be out of the ministry, forever. They have failed to the point that they can no longer lead. Does this mean that God cannot ever use them? No, but they have canceled themselves out of usefulness in official ministry positions. Paul highlights the qualifications for a person in leadership position of ministry in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. Those who either do not qualify or rule themselves out because of their own actions and/or demeanor are no longer fit for ministry in an official capacity.
Yet, this seems to be the growing norm in America. We’ve seen it all too often with too many. They may have embezzled funds from their own ministry or enjoy sinful pursuits and when they are found out, even if they go to jail, they eventually begin another official ministry and in some cases, if they don’t go to jail, they never step down even though their immorality is on display for all to see. It is an affront to God. Yes, there is grace, certainly, but that grace does not erase the consequences of our sin. Grace provides forgiveness and restores to fellowship.
God is a God of order. While I believe the Bible teaches that a true Christian can never lose his/her salvation, this certainly does not mean that the person can never make huge mistakes. It happens and it does so when Christians are not living constantly in fellowship with God.
For all the Christians who never commit adultery, what keeps them from doing so? Many reasons likely, but I would hazard a guess that they do not commit adultery because they love their spouse, even when they are not together. They take their commitment seriously. When/if tempted to stray, the love for their wife/husband keeps them heading off down that dangerous path. In essence, it is that fellowship they enjoy with their mate that keeps them dedicated to them. Because they are dedicated to them, they find it easier to resist the pull toward adultery. Consider how Joseph reacted to Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39). Even though Joseph was not married, he understood that his fellowship with God should prohibit him from entering into an affair with another man’s wife.
We will get more into John’s first epistle in an upcoming series, because he has a great deal to say about our fellowship with God as the main means of keeping us from sin. He actually states throughout this five-chapter epistle that a person who is constantly in fellowship with God cannot sin. Of course, he also acknowledges that living a perfect life in the here and now is something that no Christian can ever fully attain. However, that goal should always be in front of us, yet not with the idea that we do so in our own strength, but only as we rely on God.
Fellowship with God allows us to get to know God, just as fellowship with our spouse, family, and friends allows us to get to know them. We learn the other’s likes and dislikes and because we love them, we do not do the things that they do not like because of the pain doing them would cause.
Too many today believe that we must have some type of ecstatic, highly emotional relationship with God and if we do not, we are not truly enjoying fellowship. This is absurd because we do not expect this type of relationship with anyone else, do we? We love our wife/husband and we certainly enjoy their company, spending time with them and getting to know them. It completes us or at least adds to our life. Good friendships and good relationships with our marriage partners often cause feelings of being settled and complete. We know we are loved because of how we are treated and our partners or friends know they are loved or appreciated (or not) by how we act toward them.
While our relationship with God is certainly ethereal to an extent (better to say spiritual), ultimately, we get to know God the same way we get to know other important people in our life. For God, we must learn about Him by spending time with Him through the Light of His Word. This in turn prompts us to love Him more than all others and moves us to love others because He loves them. There are no shortcuts in getting to know (fellowship) God. You cannot get to know God apart from His Word though many try, by depending on their feelings. We don’t do this with any other relationship if it is a healthy one.
People who are not in the process of knowing God are constantly and consistently prone to failure. I’ve pointed out three individuals in this article that bear this out. Any one of us can fall and the very thought of it should cause us to quake with fear, forcing us to throw ourselves onto God for the power to overcome. Think of your best friend or spouse and how much you love and appreciate them. Now imagine life without them because of something stupid you did. Can you bear it?
We need to take our relationship with God seriously. We need to enter into fellowship with Him and remain there. It is the only thing that can keep us from falling, recognizing that Christ in us saves us from ourselves. In essence, salvation or eternal life is in knowing God in Christ. As Christians, it is unfortunate that we can do exactly what Adam and Eve did by turning off our relationship with God. We can break that fellowship with God by choosing a path that He does not approve of and when we do, we not only break fellowship, but we sin, and bring tremendous harm into our lives and the lives of those we love.
Christian, stay the course. Grow in your fellowship with Him daily. Always seek Him. Always submit to Him. Always live to bring glory to His Name.
Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, Emotional virtue, eternity, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming. Tags: david and bathsheba, fellowship with god, james 4:7, king david, r c sproul jr, resist the devil.